The Innovator Founder route is not designed to facilitate investment into a pre-existing business – applicants should be key/founding members of the business who have generated the ideas in the business plan (or significantly contributed to them) and will be involved in the day-to-day role in carrying out the business plan.
In particular, the Home Office will be reluctant to grant where your connection to a business has been arranged by any “investment matching” service provider. This is where an individual has had their involvement in a founding team arranged for them by a third party on the basis of them making an investment within that company. Such an applicant is unlikely to be a genuine founder/instrumental member of the founding team, nor likely to have generated or made a significant contribution to the ideas in that business plan.
The Home Office guidance says:
- Example: Less likely to meet the requirements
- While the applicant is providing funding to a business which they have joined late in its development, they have very limited incidental skills related to the business, such as having been an “administrator” and will ostensibly be involved as a “business development lead” or “HR” function. They have no serious independent grasp of the fundamentals of the business they are supposed to be founding and have not been present during early testing and research already carried out by the other founders on the companies proposed innovative product offering. If any information comes to light after you have endorsed the applicant which may cast doubt on whether they are a genuine Innovator Founder applicant, please report this to the Home Office so that we can consider this as part of our scrutiny of the application.
- Example: more likely to meet the requirements
- The applicant has had a genuine involvement in the creation of the business plan for the company being founded; has a clear founding leadership role within the business; and it is clear that this individual has specific skills and knowledge necessary to the founding of that business. The applicant can talk in depth to the core innovative product and can credibly articulate what it is they have brought to the development of the business proposition, to the extent that early R&D has already been undertaken, with them having been significantly and materially involved in this, either undertaking or facilitating that process prior to seeking endorsement.
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