Updated: June 30, 2022 10:29:13 am
British taxpayers have become shareholders in Killing Kittens, a UK-based firm that organises exclusive women-led ‘sex parties’, after a loan provided by the UK government to help it tide through the pandemic turned into an equity stake in the company.
The company secured the loan in 2020 as part of the British Business Bank’s Covid Future Fund, which helped cash-strapped startups during the coronavirus pandemic. Killing Kittens is valued at about 15 million pounds, of which the UK government has a roughly 1.5 per cent share, according to the Financial Times.
“A stake that has increased in value by 60 per cent in a year unlike a load of other FF recipients who’ve gone under. Some may call that a good investment,” tweeted Emma Sayle, the founder of the 17-year-old company.
— emma sayle (@emsayle) June 27, 2022
What is Killing Kittens?
Founded in 2005, Killing Kittens organises exclusive members-only sex parties “where, for the first time, women were in control of the narrative and events” in major cities around the world, according to the company’s website. It has also developed an adult-only social network.
The company has about 180,000 members and an annual turnover of about £1.4 million, about 80 per cent of which comes from the UK, The Guardian reported.
In an interview with The Financial Times, Sayle said that the company had raised £1 million in its latest round of funding, with which it is now valued at around £15 million. During the pandemic, the company recorded a 330 per cent increase in traffic to its website, according to a CNN report.
What is the British Business Fund’s Covid Future Fund?
Set up in May 2020, the British Business Bank’s Future Fund is a government scheme that aims to support UK-based companies that are financially struggling due to the Covid pandemic. It usually provides financing of between £125,000 and £5 million to companies, subject to them at least matching the funding from private investors, CNN reported.
The loans include a clause that converts them into equity during the company’s next round of fundraising. Due to this, British taxpayers now have stakes in hundreds of businesses — ranging from the Bolton Wanderers Football Club to the Black Sheep Coffee chain.
The Fund committed £1.1 billion to 1,190 companies through convertible loan agreements.
In 2020, the Future Fund awarded Killing Kittens a loan of £170,000. “The government has already made money on the investment,” Sayle told The Financial Times.
Why the Future Fund’s loan to Killing Kittens was controversial
The Future Fund’s loan to Killing Kittens was controversial in 2020, with Labour MP Sarah Champion urging the Chancellor to stop government funding for sex party organisers.
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“The Future Fund used a set of standard terms with published eligibility criteria,” a spokesperson for the British Business Bank told The Guardian. “The process provided a clear, efficient way to make funding available as widely and as swiftly as possible without the need for lengthy negotiations. Applications that met all the eligibility criteria received investment.”
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