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Channel 4 Launches Untapped

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Channel 4 is launching Untapped, a ground-breaking commercial initiative to invest in entrepreneurs who have traditionally been overlooked by the VC ecosystem.

The initiative – led by Channel 4's consumer investment arm, Channel 4 Ventures - is informed by new research which shows that founders securing significant investment historically fall into a narrow range of elite profiles.

Untapped seeks to address this - and generate new revenues for Channel 4 - by investing in high growth businesses led by founders with a broader range of profiles based on factors including gender, education, socio-economic history, race and ethnicity, location and employment history.

The strategy is based on a new, industry-leading framework which will determine founders’ profiles across a range of criteria. It will enable Channel 4 to identify more potential investment opportunities in early-stage businesses led by a broader range of founders. These include women, founders educated outside of a small subset of institutions, companies based across the UK, people from ethnically diverse backgrounds and entrepreneurs from outside the start-up ecosystem.

Channel 4 Ventures is committing that a significant proportion of potential deals taken to its investment committee for approval each year will be in businesses led by such founders. In doing so, it aims to channel millions of pounds of media value into a new wave of entrepreneurs – driving investment across the UK and supporting the development of new consumer propositions and innovation.

The initiative will grow Channel 4 Ventures’ portfolio, supporting Channel 4’s Fast Forward strategy to ramp up new, diversified sources of revenues as it becomes a genuinely digital-first public service streamer.

Vinay Solanki, Head of Channel 4 Ventures, said: "Untapped will enable Channel 4 to invest in and incubate high-growth businesses, delivering significant commercial returns to drive forward Channel 4's distinctive remit. The data implies that a wide range of talented founders leading attractive commercial organisations are being overlooked by the current ecosystem and we are committed to identifying and backing them. More broadly, Untapped can be a catalyst to grow the UK consumer investment landscape and encourage others to follow in the investment space."

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