emma sayle
© John Nguyen/JNVisuals
Emma Sayle, CEO of Killing Kittens, says the Government has already made money on its stake.
Government owns 1.5% of Killing Kittens after Covid rescue loan.

The Treasury has become the partial owner of an upmarket swingers' club founded by one of the Duchess of Cambridge's friends after it took out a Covid rescue loan.

Taxpayers now own a 1.5% stake in Killing Kittens, a company which organises "adult parties" focused on female pleasure, following a fundraising which valued it at £15m.

Killing Kittens was founded by Emma Sayle, 43, a school friend of the duchess who captained a boating team of which the two were both members.

In mid-2020 Killing Kittens took out a £170,000 loan from a government scheme intended to protect valuable startups from the pandemic's worst effects. The loan's terms and conditions contain a clause meaning it converts into an equity stake whenever recipients raise fresh investment. Killing Kittens raised £1m of investment earlier this year, Companies House documents show.

Future Fund, the rescue scheme, was set up in May 2020 by Rishi Sunak through the state-backed British Business Bank. At its launch, the Chancellor said that the fund would "support firms across the UK to get through the pandemic by stimulating investment, so that they can continue to break new ground in technology and innovation". Loan recipients were also encouraged to sign the Treasury's Investing in Women Code.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Ms Sayle said: "The Government has already made money on the investment." At Killing Kittens' current valuation, the taxpayer appears to have achieved a 77% return on its investment in "the most decadent, extravagant and exclusive parties in the industry".

Before the pandemic, the privately held business was worth £10m. Since its foundation in 2005 Killing Kittens has branched out into dating and social networking apps. The Future Fund was intended to keep innovative companies afloat through business interruption loans as lockdowns during the years 2020 and 2021 forced customer service businesses to close their doors.

The British Business Bank said: "The Future Fund used a set of standard terms with published eligibility criteria. The process provided a clear, efficient way to make funding available as widely and as swiftly as possible without the need for lengthy negotiations. Applications that met all the eligibility criteria received investment."

Ms Sayle raised eyebrows in 2015 after organising an adult party in London's first Islamic sharia law-compliant hotel.
She also prompted anger from former Gogglebox stars Steph and Dom Parker in 2014 after renting their £3.5m Kent mansion, describing it as a "beautiful" venue for a 60-person masked orgy.

The name Killing Kittens is a reference to an apocryphal saying about the Almighty smiting defenceless cats to punish those engaged in the hedonistic pursuit of self-pleasure.