Surrey County Council buys stake in web firm

Surrey County Council and innovation foundation Nesta have bought a combined £1 million stake in public sector app developer and consultant FutureGov.

The investment will see both organisations take an equity share in the company, which will use the cash injection to market its existing range of apps to councils, as well as developing new products.

Nesta has confirmed an investment of £750,000 from its social investment fund, Nesta Impacts Investments, meaning the council’s share, which is being kept under wraps, is likely to total around £250,000*.

The introduction to a report presented to Surrey councillors said: “An innovation partnership will bring to the council expertise, intellectual knowledge and a wide network that is essential to its journey of innovation.

“This partnership will introduce skills and competencies which would be difficult for a local authority to attract in isolation and might otherwise be sought from more expensive consultancy arrangements.”

Dominic Campbell, director at FutureGov, said that between them, Nesta and the council had bought around a quarter of the company and would now get seats on the company board.

The council and charity will take a proportionate share of any future profits, he confirmed.

He told “This investment will allow us to take on between 15 and 20 extra staff, taking staffing levels up to around 40.

FutureGov has already collaborated with the council on projects including ShiftSurrey, a design “lab” aimed at rethinking and redesigning services in line with user needs.

In March, the company will launch an app developed in conjunction with Surrey allowing older adults to assess their care needs, and whether they can expect support from the council or other organisations.

FutureGov has also designed a number of apps which are in use by local authorities in the UK and by two states in Australia.

* Update 12/02/2014 – Surrey County Council has confirmed that it has invested £250,000 in the company.

Colin Marrs

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