Channel 4 appoints Nick Curwin to Indie Growth Fund Board

Channel 4 today announced it has appointed former The Garden CEO, Nick Curwin to its Indie Growth Fund Advisory Board. He joins the Board as an external independent expert alongside Lorraine Heggessey and Channel 4’s executive team, helping to supervise the Indie Growth Fund operation, review the performance of the Fund and make recommendations to the Channel 4 Corporation Board for investments and exits. Nick will additionally creatively mentor Fund investees together with Lorraine.

The £20m Fund was launched in 2014 to provide additional support to the UK independent creative sector, outside the regular commissioning cycle, by providing access to funding for start-ups and SMEs based in the UK to help them to grow and develop their business to the next level.

In almost three years the Fund has taken minority stakes in 13 UK businesses and this year has exited two of these investments, enabling Channel 4 to reinvest profits back into the Fund and the UK creative industry.

Nick Curwin has launched, grown and sold two production companies with his friend Magnus Temple. Firefly (now Dragonfly), pioneers of the ‘rig show’, was sold to Shine in 2007 just three years from launch. In 2010 they set up The Garden which has repeatedly topped industry peer polls, receiving seven BAFTA-nominations and two BAFTA awards for programming including The Family, One Born Every Minute, 24 Hours in A&E, 24 Hours in Police Custody, The Audience, Keeping Britain Alive and Bedlam. Nick continued as CEO following ITV Studios acquisition of The Garden in 2013 but stood down earlier this year – he remains a Board Director.

Jonathan Allan, Commercial Director at Channel 4 who oversees the Indie Growth Fund said: “Nick brings extensive indie experience having successfully built two major UK factual production companies with award-winning content portfolios. His insight will be invaluable to the team as we continue to help grow our invested companies and seek new investment opportunities.

“In three years the Growth Fund has demonstrated that it is a necessary resource both to the indie sector as a friendly investment partner, and to Channel 4’s remit with all profits successfully reinvested back into the creative economy.”

Nick Curwin said: “This is a lovely role so I’m very pleased to have been asked to help continue the success of the Growth Fund and the companies it part-owns.”

Since its launch the Indie Growth Fund has now invested in: Arrow International Media, Barcroft Media Group, Eleven Film, Firecrest Films, Lightbox Media, Parable Ventures, Popkorn Media, Renowned Films, Spelthorne Community Television, The RightsXchange (TRX), True North Productions, Voltage TV Productions and Whisper Films.

This year Channel 4 made its first two exits from its initial tranche of Indie Growth Fund investments. True North Productions was acquired by Sky in January where in just two years Channel 4 helped to secure a strong future for this Leeds-based indie, which is now one of the biggest factual indies in the UK and an established training ground for new and diverse creative talent in the north.

In October, Channel 4 sold its stake in Renowned Films to US company Critical Content, having helped this young BAME led indie develop their business from new and disruptive market entrants, to having mainstream success and now an international stage.

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