Posted on November 9, 2017 by staff

Northern tech deals soar in Q3


Tech businesses in the North secured growth investments of £207.6m in the third quarter of 2017, double the value of the previous three months and almost four times the value in the same period last year.

The data, analysed by KPMG’s Northern tech sector team, shows that there were 45 growth investments made between June and September 2017, as well as 26 acquisitions.

The three largest North West deals by value were the minority stake purchase of The Hut Group by Old Mutual for £125m; the £20m raised by on-demand online GP surgery Push Doctor; and NorthEdge’s £20m minority stake acquisition of facial animation software firm Cubic Motion.

“With over £200m of invested funds, this is the most heavily invested quarter since we began our analysis a year ago,” said Graham Pearce, KPMG’s tech sector lead for the North.

“Testament to the fact that a rise in Northern tech investment is not just down to one or two extraordinary ventures, Q3 has also seen the highest number of transactions of the past twelve months.”

KPMG found software had a particularly strong quarter with £30.4m invested in 17 companies, closely followed by internet and media businesses, with £29.2m invested in 13 companies.

On a rise in investment from overseas, Pearce added: “Overseas investment in UK tech has historically been London-centric, but a number of recent investments across the North West have seen significant overseas interest, with funds flowing in from tech enterprises and financial investors across the US, Europe and Asia.

“The size of these investments is not minor; for example, the recent £20.2m PushDoctor fundraise in Manchester saw participation from Silicon Valley-based Partech Ventures and Paris-based Seventure Partners.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, which opened in February 2017, made four investments of under £1m in Northern tech start-ups in the third quarter, with three in Yorkshire and one in the North East.

There were 26 completed acquisitions in the three-month period, a 79 per cent increase on Q3 2016.

“This suggests confidence in the M&A market returned to the Northern tech sector in the year after the shock of the Brexit vote,” Pearce said.