London is widely considered the tech hub of the UK and Europe – and with good reason. Last year, tech startups based in the capital raised a record £18.55bn, making it the fourth-highest city for VC investment globally. It also became home to a record 18,549 new tech startups.
But 2021 also highlighted the increasingly important role that regional tech hubs play in Britain’s tech ecosystem. In total, £9bn in VC funding went to startups and scaleups based outside of London and the South East.
In particular, tech startups based in the so-called “Northern Triangle” – encompassing Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – have become a magnet for funding and innovation.
Over the last five years, tech startups based in the Northern Triangle have raised £1.3bn in VC funding.
UKTN has compiled a list of four British VC funds that are actively investing in Northern tech startups.
Headquarters: Northwich, Cheshire
Total invested: £91m
SFC Capital is an early-stage VC firm founded by software industry veteran Stephen Page. SFC’s portfolio consists of tech companies including Settld, Ai Build, Loyalize and Halocycle.
SFC Capital recently invested £300,000 into Sheffield-based hardware and data platform FourJaw. It counts the British Business Bank, a government-owned development bank, among its limited partners.
The VC has invested £1.2m into the Northern tech startups in the last year.
Total invested: £20m
Founded by Paul Jenkinson and Sarah Barber, Jenson Funding Partners has invested in the likes of digital coaching app Rocky.AI, esport professional tracker SwiftSkill, parenting app Onoco and property valuation app Zeus.
Jenson Funding Partners to date has invested £20m in over 120 UK businesses through its SEIS and EIS funds.
It recently backed Caterpillar, an app that rewards healthy living with shopping loyalty points.
The VC has made £1.05m in Northern tech investments in the last year.
Total invested (since 2019): £50m
Praetura Ventures’ northern tech portfolio contains the likes of Bankifi, Culture Shift, Orka Technology, PEAK and Dr Fertility. In the last 24 months, the VC has raised over £36m and invested in 20 businesses.
Since the start of 2021, the VC firm has invested £16m into Northern tech startups.
Total invested: £75m
Par Equity is a VC firm that primarily invests in the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. It focuses on tech firms that have a high growth opportunity and aims to turn Northern tech startups into global powerhouses.
The VC invests in seed to Series A rounds, with a focus on frontier and deeptech.
Par Equity has backed 67 companies across 386 investment rounds
In March, it led the £2.6m investment into mapping platform Machines With Vision, which aids train network operators to identify faults.
Last year Par Equity invested £31.5m into Northern tech startups.