January 22, 2023

What went so wrong at Britishvolt? Startup Europe — The Sifted Podcast

The embattled British gigafactory startup has filed for administration

Steph Bailey

2 min read

A branded image for The Sifted Podcast, featuring editor Amy Lewin and deputy editor Eleanor Warnock

This week on the podcast, we kick off with Britishvolt, as the British gigafactory startup filed for administration. Although people could see this coming, its demise is a big blow to Britain's hopes to shore up an electric vehicle supply chain.

Also, in a dramatic turn, founder and CEO of used car marketplace Cazoo, Alex Chesterman, announced he'll be stepping down as CEO from April. It’s the latest in a string of big changes for the startup — and since listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in August 2021, Cazoo’s share price has dropped 97%.

In more positive news, British spinout EnsiliTech just raised a $1.2m pre-seed round to continue developing a way of storing vaccines and other organic materials like antibodies — which usually need to be kept in sub-zero conditions — at room temperature. Right now, around half of vaccines are wasted, costing the pharmaceutical industry $35bn a year.


Another raise came from Switzerland’s ClearSpace, which is working on technology for space debris removal (ie. clearing up Elon Musk's mess). It's just raised a €26.7m Series A to accelerate the launch of the world’s first-ever space mission to remove a moving, non-cooperative object from orbit.

In VC news, Steven Bartlett, star of British TV phenomenon Dragons’ Den and host of Europe’s most downloaded podcast, The Diary of a CEO, is now raising a $100m VC fund to back early-stage companies.

For our first interview, we talk to Tim Smith, one of Sifted's senior reporters, who has been chatting to Emad Mostaque, founder of generative AI startup Stability AI. Its open source image generator Stable Diffusion is a direct competitor of DALL-E.

Lastly, we hear from our fintech reporter Amy O'Brien about some digging she's being doing into Alameda's European startup portfolio, one of the trading arms of FTX group.

Listen to Startup Europe — The Sifted Podcast on Apple, Spotify and all major platforms.

This podcast is brought to you by Zendesk for Startups. Zendesk helps startups build lasting customer experiences from day one. With the Zendesk for Startups Program, startups get Zendesk customer support software and CRM for six months free of charge. Learn more and claim your six months free here.

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Steph Bailey

Steph Bailey is head of content at Sifted. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn