October 3, 2023 ITERATE

The British Design Fund and its Impact on UK Startups

In the world of business and innovation, support and funding are often essential ingredients for turning brilliant ideas into successful products. The British Design Fund (BDF) is a shining example of an organisation that plays a pivotal role in supporting UK businesses wanting to develop new products and take them to market. In this blog, we’ll explore who the British Design Fund is and how they have been a driving force behind the innovation landscape in the United Kingdom.

Who is the British Design Fund?

The British Design Fund is a venture capital fund founded in 2017 by Damon Bonser and John Mathers. It was created with a clear mission: to bridge the gap between innovative product designers and entrepreneurs and investors looking to support their ventures. The fund focuses on identifying promising product designers and design-led businesses, nurturing their growth, and providing them with the financial backing they need to bring their innovative ideas to life.

Supporting Product Designers and Entrepreneurs

One of the key pillars of the British Design Fund’s mission is to support product designers and entrepreneurs throughout their journey of product development. They understand that creativity alone is not enough; turning a brilliant design concept into a marketable product requires a myriad of resources, from funding to business expertise.

Here’s how the British Design Fund supports UK businesses:

1. Financial Backing: The fund provides early-stage investment capital to startups and businesses with innovative product ideas. This financial backing helps entrepreneurs cover essential expenses such as research and development, prototyping, and manufacturing.

2. Mentorship and Guidance: BDF doesn’t just stop at providing funds. They offer invaluable mentorship and guidance to help businesses refine their products, fine-tune their business strategies, and navigate the complex world of product development and market entry.

3. Access to Networks: Through their extensive network of industry experts, investors, and mentors, BDF connects entrepreneurs with the right people to help their businesses thrive. This network opens doors to partnerships, collaborations, and opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach.

4. Product Development Expertise: By partnering with design consultancies like ITERATE, BDF can assist businesses in optimising their design, production, and manufacturing processes. This expertise is invaluable for creating products that are not only innovative but also feasible for mass production.

Success Stories

The British Design Fund has already made a significant impact on the UK’s innovation landscape. Some notable success stories include:

1. Ohyo: A reusable and collapsible water bottle company, Ohyo received investment from the British Design Fund. Their innovative design has gained popularity worldwide, contributing to the reduction of single-use plastic waste.

2. Mindful Chef: An innovative food delivery service, Mindful Chef, received support from BDF early in its journey. Today, it is a thriving business, providing healthy meal kits to customers across the UK.

3. Simba: Known for their cutting-edge mattress designs, Simba received early-stage funding from the British Design Fund. Their success is a testament to the fund’s ability to spot and nurture innovative product ideas.


The British Design Fund has emerged as a beacon of support and innovation in the UK. By bridging the gap between designers, entrepreneurs, and investors, they have empowered countless businesses to transform their groundbreaking ideas into market-ready products. Their approach of combining financial backing with mentorship and expertise has not only helped businesses grow but has also contributed to the UK’s reputation as a hub for innovation and design excellence. As we move into an increasingly competitive and innovation-driven world, organisations like the British Design Fund will continue to play a vital role in fostering creativity and economic growth.


by Gethin Roberts

Managing Director

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