Founders Forum in talks to acquire Tech Nation brand

Brent Hoberman Founders Forum Image credit: Founders Forum Group

Entrepreneur network Founders Forum Group is in talks to acquire the brand of Tech Nation, which is closing at the end of the month after losing a bid for government funding to Barclays Eagle Labs.

The group, launched by entrepreneur Brent Hoberman in 2005, consists of Founders Forum, accelerator Founders Factory and investment arm Firstminute Capital.

In a statement, Tech Nation said it has been weighing up “dozens of expressions of interest” for its assets since early February.

Founders Forum said if it was successful in its Tech Nation bid it would “adopt the internationally renowned brand lineup” into its existing portfolio.

Tech Nation announced in January that it would shut down on 31 March after a decade of operations.

Carolyn Dawson, Founders Forum Group CEO, said: “Our hope is to build on the great work of Tech Nation and continue to serve as the collective voice of founders and investors across the UK, collaborating with media, government, and industry to entrench the UK as a world-renowned startup hub and leading innovation economy.”

Founders Forum runs summits and events for entrepreneurs across the world. In an interview with UKTN last year, Hoberman said he launched Founders Forum Group in “response to the lack of credible, peer-to-peer European entrepreneur networks to rival those that existed in Silicon Valley”.

Tech Nation declined to comment further on the terms of the deal or what stage the talks are at.

“We are very excited to be in discussions with Founders Forum Group, which we think is well placed to build on the legacy that Tech Nation has created over the last 10 years, given their ethos and approach to supporting entrepreneurs at every stage,” said Gerard Grech, Tech Nation Founding CEO.

Tech Nation added that it remains in talks with the Home Office over its role in providing endorsements for the Global Talent visa, and will continue to accept applications “for the foreseeable future” and “until a new endorsing body is in place”.

Earlier this month UKTN revealed that Barclays Eagle Labs will not be taking on any Tech Nation staff after the two organisations failed to reach an agreement under TUPE employment rules.

If the deal proceeds it would mark the latest expansion by Founders Forum Group, which took a stake in creative agency Clerkenwell Brothers last year and rebranded it to Founders Makers.