Computer Laboratory

Golden Share Scheme

The Computer Laboratory is delighted that 1248 Ltd has become the first company in the Laboratory’s 1% Golden Share scheme.

What is the 1% Golden Share Scheme?

In conversations with a number of companies founded both by friends of the Computer Laboratory and its graduates, it became clear that many were keen to acknowledge the deep and dynamic relationship with the Laboratory and recognise its contribution to their knowledge, skills and innovation.

From these conversations sprung the idea of the 1% Golden Share Scheme whereby a company gives a small (typically 1%) but non-dilutable percentage of the company to the Computer Laboratory, which over time may become valuable if the company succeeds.

The scheme allows participating companies to publicly and consciously link their destinies to those of the Computer Laboratory, and the Computer Laboratory to further strengthen their links with industry.

Why should your company participate?

The 1% Golden Share Scheme ties your company publicly with the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory providing a clear association of the pedigree of your company’s founders with their training and education at the UK’s most prestigious university, and one of the world’s leading educational institutions.

In addition, as a philanthropic gesture which incurs no cash outlay for a fast growing cash hungry business, it nevertheless enables the success of your company to contribute in a small way, helping future generations of entrepreneurs and academics to follow in your footsteps.

Last but not least, on a practical level the 1% Golden Share Scheme is a means of ensuring a continuing dialogue between the Computer Laboratory and your company through its various stages of development, enabling you to access the vast network of academics and specialists in your chosen field.

Can the 1% Golden Share be non-dilutable?

For many start-ups who need to raise significant funds over time, dilution will be part of the game. However it is deemed that a 1% Golden Share, being sufficiently small yet sufficiently public, will not be worth diluting by an incoming investor.

How will the Golden Share Scheme be implemented?

The Golden Share will be gifted to the Computer Laboratory, the academic department within the University of Cambridge.

Typically, the Golden Share will be worth 1% of the company on a ‘fully-diluted’ basis, so after all investments are made, and once any options have vested and been exercised in the future.

The Golden Share has no rights apart from its potential value at exit, which is defined as 1% in the Articles of Association, one of the three legal documents that typically define the ownership of a company (the others being the Shareholders Agreement and the share certificates themselves).

Interested in participating in the 1% Golden Share Scheme? What’s the next step?

In the first instance, please contact Professor Andy Hopper.

If your company has yet to incorporate you will, no doubt, be in the process of drafting the Articles of Association, the company’s main constitutional documents.

Model Articles are available from Companies House for private companies listed by shares. In addition, draft Articles from a company participating in the Golden Share Scheme may be made available to anyone wanting to take part in the scheme.