Posted on August 15, 2018 by staff

VC investment in Northern start-ups passes £90m


Venture Capital investors have pumped more than $114 million (£90m) into Northern start-up businesses in the first six months of this year.

That is according to Venture Pulse 2018, a quarterly report on global VC trends published by KPMG Enterprise, with data from PitchBook.

A total of 47 businesses from the region saw investment from global VC investors between January and June, out of 449 deals completed across the UK.

While the first half of 2018 has been steadily busy for VC investment in the North, other parts of the UK have seen activity pick up in the second quarter after a slower start. The surge in activity has propelled the UK back to the top of the European VC market.

“It’s encouraging to see that continued uncertainty in the macropolitical and macroeconomic environment does not appear to be substantially hampering appetite for investment in UK startups, especially in the North, which has had two strong quarters in a row,” said Graham Pearce, KPMG’s head of technology in the North.

VC investments were spread across the North in the first half of the year, with notable hubs in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Liverpool.

Active investors include the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Deepbridge Capital, each with multiple multi-million-pound deals completed.

The largest regional investment was the $20 million early-stage VC funding for Greater Manchester-based Matillion, which closed in March, followed by investments for QuantuMDx (Newcastle-upon-Tyne), Econic Technologies (Macclesfield) and vTime (Liverpool).

According to Venture Pulse 2018, artificial intelligence, FinTech, cyber security and biotech are regarded as key investment priorities in the UK. Healthtech is also performing particularly strongly in the North.

“Manchester is still leading the way, but with thousands of new tech companies born each year, the sector is becoming increasingly important to the wider regional economy and attractive to international investors,” added Pearce.

“The strength of the North’s healthtech sector comes as investors see value in the digital maturity of the NHS, as well as the region’s compelling university offering and attraction for talent.

“With around 200,000 jobs in tech businesses across Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool and Hull, Virtual Reality is also booming. In the past 12 months alone, nine VR businesses have raised around £12 million in total from investors, and we expect this to keep growing at pace.”