City firm Withers has criticised UK companies for not investing in hi-tech start-up companies.
A survey commissioned by the firm showed that of the few respondent companies that had engaged in corporate venturing (investing risk capital in other companies), very few had invested in the start-up stage, where investment is most needed, or in hi-tech companies.
Withers corporate partner David Gebbie, who compiled the survey, Window On Technology, said: “There was an overwhelming ignorance on the part of corporations about corporate venturing.
“There is no central register or way for them to find suitable venture partners. They are also rejecting it for the wrong reasons – they are worried that there might be long-term costs and that they wouldn't have control of the venture. In fact, the few corporations that have done it say that neither of these are problems.”
He added: “The most depressing discovery of all is that UK corporates are not investing in hi-tech start ups.” This meant, said Gebbie, that a finance vacuum still existed for the inventor, technician or innovative entrepreneur without a track record. “It is causing a technology deficit in the UK.”