There is “overwhelming support” among tech entrepreneurs for the Conservatives, according to a survey conducted by venture capital (VC) firm Episode 1 Ventures.
The survey was distributed to the 1,500 contacts on Episode 1 Ventures’ database, which is largely comprised of entrepreneurs and founders that have come to the VC firm for funding.
According to the survey, 82 percent of respondents believe their startup would be better off under a Tory government, while slightly more (85 percent), stated that the coalition of the last five years has fared well, or very well, in supporting the tech sector.
Episode 1 Ventures went do far as to suggest that some 75 percent of respondents believed the Labour party would have a negative impact on investment in the UK tech sector if it were to lead the next government.
Labour's Chi Onwurah, shadow Cabinet Office minister and an IT professional, told Techworld last week: "Most innovative and technology focussed businesses I speak to – big and small – recognise that the real threat to their business comes from the Tory Party risking our place in Europe."
Figures released by London & Partners at the end of 2014 found that UK technology firms attracted $2.1 billion (£1.4 billion) in venture capital funding last year, with London companies raising 65 percent of the total at $1.4 billion (£900 million), double the amount raised in 2013.
The Episode 1 Ventures survey comes hot on the heels of a Tory-supporting open letter backed by 90 of the UK's leading entrepreneurs and published in the Guardian last week. It highlighted the various initiatives that the coalition government backed in a bid to boost investment in startups, including the enterprise investment scheme, the research and development tax credits and the patent box.
The coalition also introduced a number of new Enterprise Capital Funds (including as Episode 1 Ventures), which have been created in the hope that they will fill a gap in the equity market for small businesses that have the potential for high growth. Meanwhile, the new British Business Bank, led by Vince Cable, has also injected money into alternative funding platforms.
“The tech sector is a key driver of economic growth and is of critical importance in protecting the nation’s future prosperity,” said Damien Lane, founding partner at Episode 1 Ventures. “It has come a long way over recent years but it’s clear that startup founders, who give everything to build a company that can compete on the global stage, see the Labour government as a threat to their success.”
Onwurah added: "A Labour Government will safeguard our position in a reformed EU, cut and then freeze business rates for over 1.5 million small business properties and set up a proper British Investment Bank to ensure firms can get the finance they need to innovate and grow.
"And we will build on our strengths as a leader in digital technology by supporting the sector with a long term industrial strategy, strengthening broadband coverage, and improving digital skills by reforming vocational education in schools, colleges and universities – as well as using digital technology to help drive innovation across government and reform public services."
The team at Episode 1 Ventures previously made early investments in a number of highly successful technology businesses including Betfair, LoveFilm, Natural Motion, ScanSafe, Shazam and Zoopla. Its current portfolio of high potential UK tech companies includes Carwow, ClusterHQ and eMoov.
A spokesman for Episode 1 Ventures denied there was any link between the venture capital company and the Tory party.
"I'm not aware of any direct links between Episode 1 Ventures and the Conservative party," he said. "The numbers are simply what the data showed up - although overwhelmingly pro-Tories, they're not that surprising given the growth in the tech sector since the Conservative-led coalition came to power."
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