A Brief Overview of SEIS and EIS for Tech Companies


Navigating the world of tax incentives can often seem like a complex maze, particularly for small businesses in the tech sector. However, with the right knowledge and understanding, these incentives can provide a significant boost to your company’s growth potential. This blog post aims to provide a brief overview of two such schemes specifically tailored to benefit UK tech companies – the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

What are the SEIS and EIS?

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) are powerful tools forged in the legislative fires of the UK government, with a specific focus on fuelling the growth of high-risk, early-stage businesses. Imagine them as catalysts; they are here to stimulate investments, to add that extra spark that convinces investors to back your ideas, your innovations. The SEIS and EIS do this by dangling a rather attractive carrot in front of individual investors – substantial tax relief when they buy new shares in qualifying companies. It’s a win-win situation; investors get a break on their tax bill and your tech company gets the much-needed capital injection. It’s an elegant way of channeling more investment into the UK’s vibrant tech industry.

Understanding the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

The SEIS is essentially a launch pad for those trailblazing companies taking their first steps into the exciting world of tech. The scheme is designed to attract the crucial initial funding that these early-stage businesses need to get off the ground. To lure those potential investors and encourage them to part with their hard-earned money, the SEIS offers an enticing incentive – a whopping 50% tax relief on investments up to £200,000 in a single tax year. 

This considerable tax break isn’t the only advantage, though. Investors also have the opportunity to safeguard their profits from any future investments. How, you might wonder? Well, any capital gain they reinvest through the SEIS is completely shielded from Capital Gains Tax. That’s right, if they sell an asset and reinvest the profit in your company, they won’t have to pay any tax on it. 

The SEIS, therefore, is an attractive proposition for both sides. For the investors, it reduces the risk, sweetens the deal, and offers a safety net for their potential profits. For you, the tech business owner, it provides an opportunity to secure that all-important seed funding that can set your innovative ideas in motion, however, it’s worth noting that you can only raise a maximum of £250k via SEIS.

Remember, though, to access these benefits, your company must qualify for the SEIS. You have to:

  • Be new or trading for less than three years
  • Be a qualifying trade or business
  • Be established in the UK
  • Not trading on a recognised stock exchange at the time of the share issue
  • Not be preparing to become a quoted company or a subsidiary of one at the time of the share issue
  • Not be in control of another company unless that company is a qualifying subsidiary
  • Not be controlled by another company since incorporation
  • Not have gross assets over £350k when the shares are issued
  • Not be a member of a partnership
  • Have less than 25 full-time equivalent employees in total when the shares are issued.

In short, the SEIS provides a stepping stone for those ambitious tech start-ups looking to turn their groundbreaking ideas into reality. It’s the nudge that investors might need to back your vision, making your journey from concept to creation a little bit smoother.

Unpacking the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

Just as SEIS serves as a launch pad for early-stage businesses, the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) acts as a booster rocket for companies that are more mature yet still keen on skyrocketing to new heights. EIS targets those firms that have already demonstrated their potential but require that extra financial boost to fully realise their vision. 

Let’s delve into the mechanics of EIS. Through this scheme, individual investors are eligible for a generous 30% tax relief on their investments. However, unlike SEIS, the ceiling is significantly higher; investors can claim this relief on investments of up to £1,000,000 per tax year. The company can accept up to £5 million per tax year and no more than £12 million EIS funding total including any amounts already raised through EIS. Corporate investors in EIS do not receive tax relief on their investment. 

But the perks don’t stop at tax relief. Much like SEIS, the EIS also offers a level of protection against loss. Should the invested capital fail to generate a return and lead to a loss, investors can offset that loss against their tax bill, reducing the sting of an unsuccessful investment. 

It’s important to note, however, that EIS comes with its own set of qualifying criteria. Your tech company must have less than 250 full-time employees and gross assets of less than £15 million. In addition, it should not be listed on any recognised stock exchange. So, while the stakes are higher, so too are the hurdles. 

EIS represents an exciting prospect for tech companies ready to accelerate growth and surge ahead. With the potential to attract larger investments and the added reassurances provided to investors, it’s a scheme that could propel your tech company to new levels of success. Always bear in mind, however, that professional advice should be sought to ensure these schemes are the right fit for your specific circumstances.

How Can These Schemes Benefit Your Tech Company?

Think of SEIS and EIS as two power-packed schemes, primed and ready to supercharge your tech enterprise. The clear advantage is the appeal they hold for prospective investors. The tempting tax breaks make investing in your company a more palatable prospect, which can tip the balance in your favour in the fiercely competitive tech landscape.

Beyond merely attracting investors, the potential capital injection gained through these schemes can be transformative for your business. They open the floodgates to a host of opportunities – whether it’s embarking on research and development projects, expanding your operations, or scaling up your team. 

Let’s not forget the added security these schemes provide for the investors, too. The capital protection through loss relief can encourage more significant investment, which could be a game-changer for your tech enterprise. The potential for larger, more substantial investments can drive the kind of exponential growth you’ve only dreamed of.

However, it’s not just about receiving the investment; it’s also about fostering long-term relationships with investors who believe in your vision. These schemes can serve as a platform for nurturing these relationships. They can encourage investors to remain invested in your company for the long-haul, fostering stability and consistent growth.

Remember, though, that while SEIS and EIS can act as catalysts for growth, it’s crucial to ensure they align with your company’s specific circumstances and growth plans. It’s about selecting the right scheme that suits your business phase – whether you’re a trailblazing start-up taking the first leap (SEIS) or a more mature company aiming for the stars (EIS). The strategic use of these schemes could be your ticket to transforming your tech business, driving it forward with unwavering momentum.

Leveraging SEIS and EIS for Growth

Harnessing the power of SEIS and EIS can be the propelling force your tech company needs to scale new heights. To optimise these schemes for your business’ growth, it’s crucial to have a strategic plan in place. 

Firstly, make sure you understand the specific requirements and benefits of each scheme. Identify whether your company aligns more with the start-up centric SEIS or the growth-focused EIS. Make sure you meet the qualifying criteria and consider seeking professional advice to help navigate the complexities.

Once you’ve determined which scheme suits your business phase, work on creating an attractive proposal for potential investors. Highlight how your innovative tech solutions are set to disrupt the industry and how their investment can fuel your ambitious growth plans. Remember, investors are looking for a compelling story, so don’t hold back on sharing your vision and future goals.

Upon securing investments, it’s crucial to put the capital to work effectively. Whether it’s investing in research and development to innovate, expanding your operations or growing your team – ensure the funds are directed to areas that can generate growth and increase your company’s value. 

Also, don’t underestimate the importance of nurturing your relationship with investors. Keeping them engaged and updated on your company’s progress can encourage long-term investment, providing your business with sustained financial support.

Finally, keep a keen eye on your company’s performance and growth trajectory. Monitor the impact of the investment on your business and be ready to adjust your strategies as necessary. Remember, the ultimate aim is to drive your business forward, and these schemes can be the launch pad you need to reach your company’s potential. 

In conclusion, strategic use of SEIS and EIS can be a game-changer for your tech company, accelerating growth and unlocking a world of opportunities. So, gear up to capitalise on these powerful incentives and steer your company towards unprecedented success.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today!