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Exclusive: Barclays Eagle Labs will not take on any Tech Nation staff

Tech Nation Barclays staff

Barclays Eagle Labs will not be taking on any Tech Nation staff when the entrepreneur network ceases operations at the end of this month, UKTN has learnt.

Tech Nation staff were informed this afternoon that the startup growth network could not reach an agreement with Barclays Eagle Labs under so-called TUPE regulations, designed to protect employees during takeovers.

Tech Nation, which is ceasing operations on 31 March after losing its government funding, had been in discussions with Eagle Labs to secure the jobs of nearly 50 of its staff.

Staff will now be issued redundancy notices, with the last day of employment on 31 March.

An internal Tech Nation message, seen by UKTN, said that “unfortunately Barclays have disagreed and therefore TUPE will not apply to anyone in the company”.

The message added: “Redundancy notices will be served today and the last date of employment will be 31 March and payment in lieu of notice (PILON) will continue until 10 April.”

In a joint statement, Tech Nation and Barclays Eagle Labs said: “Tech Nation and Barclays take a different view on TUPE but are working together on a solution. Barclays will reach out to engage with Tech Nation employees as to possible job opportunities.”

Tech Nation announced it would shut down after the government selected Eagle Labs for the £12m Digital Growth Grant, which replaced Tech Nation’s previous primary funding source provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Following the reallocation of funding, Tech Nation entered into TUPE – Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment – discussions with Barclays to ensure staff from the startup network would be able to continue their work at the bank-backed startup accelerator.

Sky News reported in February that Barclays and Tech Nation were in a dispute over whether TUPE rules applied.

The government’s decision to award taxpayer funding to the startup incubator division of a FTSE 100 bank attracted criticism from some parts of the UK’s tech ecosystem.

However, the leader of Eagle Labs’ bid for the funding told UKTN that the organisation is not “the bogeyman” and it it’s ready to support the country’s tech startups.

Since it was launched by then-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, Tech Nation has had a hand in the development of some of the UK’s most well-known startups, including Revolut, Darktrace and Deliveroo. Its alumni have collectively raised over £28bn.

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