Arksen converts UK Future Fund Investment to equity and calls for government support for the wider UK shipbuilding industry.
Arksen, which was founded in 2017 by tech entrepreneur and investor Jasper Smith, was set up to challenge the status quo of the marine industry.
By adopting circular economy principles in the creation of the multi-use, long-range explorer vessels, Arksen is at the forefront of the transition to more sustainable and environmentally aware practices. Arksen vessels combine performance and functionality and are intended to also provide valuable sea-time as platforms for ocean research and conservation projects.
The Future Fund scheme was established by UK Government in 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic as support for innovative businesses by providing government-backed convertible loans matched by private sector investment. As of 31 August 2021, Arksen has successfully converted its Future Fund loan into equity shares, having raised further private-sector capital through a subsequent investment round.
Commenting on the recent conversion of the loan, Arksen COO, Ewan Hind commented that
“We feel that this investment in Arksen is an excellent example of the UK government supporting the growth of the UK boatbuilding industry and also demonstrates the importance of innovative companies to the UK economy.
“With two vessels now in build on the Isle of Wight, the Future Fund investment has enabled Arksen to secure over £12 million pounds of orders which represents a significant boost to UK shipbuilding and the associated supply chains” he continued.
Supporting maritime businesses such as Arksen also mirrors UK government ambitions to champion innovation, sustainability and develop world-leading expertise and capability in national shipbuilding.
Jasper Smith, Founder and Chairman of Arksen adds
“Arksen is proud to work with the British Business Bank to reinvigorate the UK shipbuilding sector. With our current vessel order book in build on the UK south coast, Arksen operates as a product and service ecosystem currently supporting over 100 specialist designers, engineers, naval architects, boat builders, project managers, subcontractors and other suppliers.”
Arksen believes that the UK marine industry will be better served by further action and meaningful investment in shipbuilding and is calling on the government to make good the commitment to “bring shipbuilding back home”. Loan guarantee schemes similar to those made available by UK Export Finance to manufacturing exporters will reduce financing costs, attract financial backing and prevent vessel orders from going overseas.
Smith continues “British shipbuilding needs the investment schemes that are under consideration to enable the UK marine ecosystem to compete on equal terms with other markets. This would put Britain on a level playing field with other countries.”
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