Offsite specialist went into liquidation this month leaving dozens of employees out of pocket by close to £1.4m

Collapsed offsite firm Modulous owed £6.2m when it sank into administration earlier this year, including more than £1m to a government body specialising in loans to bankroll start-ups.

The modular housing firm has now gone into liquidation and in an update filed at Companies House, liquidator Opus Restructuring said Innovate UK Loans is the largest creditor, owed £1.6m.

Innovate UK describes itself as being aimed at “UK registered businesses [who] can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy”.

modulous pic bristol

Modulous was working on this scheme in Bristol at the time of its collapse

In the latest round of public funding, Innovate UK is offering up to £25m in loans to micro, small and medium-sized firms. Applicants are asked to show they need public funding, can cover interest payments and “will be able to repay the loan on time”.

But in the Opus report, Innovate is listed as one of dozens of creditors owed money by Modulous which sank into administration in January and was formally placed into liquidation earlier this month.

Others owed money include 71 trade creditors, collectively due £1.1m, while 60 employees are missing £1.4m. HMRC is owed just under £990,000 in unpaid PAYE taxes.

In the report, Opus said the estimated assets available to creditors was just £7,397.

Founded in 2018, Modulous consisted of a physical kit of parts that could be used to deliver housing, and a digital design tool called TESSA – an acronym for Tech Enabled Solutions for Sustainable Architecture. Its only client at the time of its collapse was Bristol City Council which was using the design tool on a dozen houses on the city’s Romney Avenue.

Modulous was initially backed by venture capital investors including Regal London and Cemex Ventures, having raised £10m of Series A funding in September 2022. However, the company subsequently reported a loss of £9.5m, with a turnover of £91,000.

Former chief executive Chris Bone blamed “the vagaries of the venture capital markets” for the collapse, claiming it had had £30m of pledged funding but when one funder pulled out the remainder stalled meaning the business “couldn’t bridge the gap”.