Sensemaker Live - Start-ups in lock-down: how should the state step in?

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New businesses are vulnerable at the best of times. They're now at the mercy of a once-in-a-century event, and in the UK they have to show they're viable to qualify for emergency finance. Is that wise given the economy will need job-creators more than ever when the Covid crisis eases?

Is this government living up to its commitment to the tech sector as well as others in Europe and North America, or are these precisely the circumstances in which risk-takers should be looking to themselves and their investors?

In this Sensemaker Live ThinkIn we'll attempt to sort the good sense from the special pleading. We'll ask members, investors and entrepreneurs if there's a balance to be struck between vulnerability, agility and sound governance to preserve what should be the most vibrant sector of any economy. Who dives, who thrives, who just about survives – and why?

Chair: James Harding, Editor and Co-founder, Tortoise

Our special guests include:

Jeff Lynn is co-founder of Seedrs, the equity crowdfunding platform, and chairman of Coadec

Brent Hoberman CBE, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Founders Forum, Founders Factory and firstminute Capital

Kathy Gromotka, Principle, Downing LLP

Check Warner, Co-founder, Ada Ventures and Co-founder, Diversity VC (Non-profit)

How does a digital ThinkIn work?

A digital ThinkIn is like a video conference, hosted by a Tortoise editor, that takes place at the advertised time of the event. Digital ThinkIns are new to Tortoise. Now that our newsroom has closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, we feel it’s more important than ever that we ‘get together’ to talk about the world and what’s going on.

The link to join the conversation will be emailed to you after you have registered for your free ticket to attend. When you click the link, you enter the digital ThinkIn and can join a live conversation from wherever you are in the world.

If you have any questions or get stuck, please get in touch with us at

What is a Tortoise ThinkIn?

A ThinkIn is not another panel discussion. It is a forum for civilised disagreement. Modelled on what we call a ‘leader conference’ in the UK (or an editorial board in the US), it is a place where everyone has a seat at the (virtual) table. It’s where we get to hear what you think, drawn from your experience, energy and expertise. It is the heart of what we do at Tortoise.

This ThinkIn is in partnership with Santander.

How we work with partners

We want to be open about the business model of our journalism, too. At Tortoise, we don’t take ads. We don’t want to chase eyeballs or sell data. We don’t want to add to the clutter of life with ever more invasive ads. We think that ads force newsrooms to produce more and more stories, more and more quickly. We want to do less, better.

Our journalism is funded by our members and our partners. We are establishing Founding Partnerships with a small group of businesses willing to back a new form of journalism, enable the public debate, share their expertise and communicate their point of view. Those companies, of course, know that we are a journalistic enterprise. Our independence is non-negotiable. If we ever have to choose between the relationship and the story, we’ll always choose the story.

We value the support that those partners give us to deliver original reporting, patient investigations and considered analysis.

We believe in opening up journalism so we can examine issues and develop ideas for the 21st Century. We want to do this with our members and with our partners. We want to give everyone a seat at the table.

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