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Bruntwood and Legal & General pledge £360m to grow regional tech startups

Bruntwood and Legal & General Capital have forged a landmark partnership to help technology companies startup and scale up in regions of the UK including Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

As part of this deal, both partners have invested £360m to form a new company, called Bruntwood SciTech. This company has a simple business aim: to drive industry growth in the northern regions. To do so, the company hopes to create 20,000 high value science and tech jobs and will pour millions into tech incubators in three cities.

It will also support the growth of technology companies within areas such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

Leaders of the deal hopes that the experience of Bruntwood, which is the majority shareholder in Manchester Science Partnerships, combined with L&G’s long-term funding and appetite to invest in the innovative companies of the future will lead to the successful growth of many tech companies outside of London.

Bruntwood SciTech’s portfolio already includes more than 500 science and technology businesses across Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham –  within which three tech incubators operate. Here, northern start-ups will benefit from bespoke business support programmes, including access to mentoring, finance and talent provided by a wide network of selected partners.

The new venture will be chaired by Bruntwood Chief Executive Chris Oglesby. He  commented: “Our vision is to help companies in Northern cities and the Midlands produce  businesses that can start and scale. The tech giants – Facebook, Google, Amazon and others like them – all had to start somewhere and we see ourselves as part of the support system that will enable tech entrepreneurs and people with disruptive technologies to succeed.

“Bruntwood SciTech is aimed squarely at the many opportunities offered by the science and technology sector and with the backing of Legal & General we can greatly accelerate the scale and pace of what we can achieve,” he added.

Manchester is one of the biggest tech hubs outside of London, and Bruntwood has worked to build Tech Incubator at Manchester Technology Centre and the eagerly awaited Circle Square. However, Bruntwood SciTech will focus on furthering the reach of its tech incubators in Leeds and Birmingham as a priority.

Leeds is a high growth city, as recent research by Tech Nation found that Leeds is home to the highest number of scale up digital companies outside the South East, with 3,500 in the city alone and 9,000 in the wider region. Bruntwood SciTech’s Tech Incubator in Leeds is already home to more than 70 fast-growing businesses from the digital tech and creative industries. 

Over in Birmingham, Bruntwood SciTech’s incubator supports more than 170 tech companies with specialisms including; coding, software, digital gaming and low carbon technologies.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General, explained the importance of supporting companies outside of London: “Although the UK is a great place to do business, years of chronic underinvestment have led to poor productivity, inadequate real wage growth and muted economic growth. Science and technology will be key to revitalising the UK economy and driving job creation. We need to keep investing to support the development of our UK regional cities.

“Through our investment in Bruntwood SciTech, we are partnering with a best in class management team at Bruntwood with a track record of delivering and developing major science and technology projects across the UK’s regions,” he concluded.

Bruntwood SciTech aims to use its investment strategy to grow its assets from its day one value of 1.3 million sq ft on day one to over 6.2 million sq ft over the next 10 years, increasing the value of the portfolio to £1.8bn.