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North of England’s early stage tech startups ‘facing funding gap’


The North of England needs to attract more smart capital from London, Europe and the US in order to fill the early-stage funding gap in the region, according to a report by tech investment bank GP Bullhound.

At the same time, the report, which revealed that eight businesses based in the region had already joined the elite $1bn valuation club, described the North’s tech scene as a “very strong and tight knit startup community”.

In addition to housing companies such as Sage and Skycanner – which raised a staggering £128m in January – the report says the North is also home to a handful of companies known as ‘Unicorn Foals’.

Foals such as Missguided, The LADbible and Blueprism, the report adds, may currently be valued at less than $1bn but have the potential to become unicorns over the coming years.

“The Northern technology ecosystem is a collection of individual tech hubs, which as one, could be considered as a tech cluster capable of taking on the likes of Berlin, Paris or Stockholm in the years to come. The cluster employs over 590,000 people in the digital sector and contributes c.£18bn GVA2 to the UK economy,” the report says.

Finally, the investment bank notes how the region should work together as a technology cluster despite its geographical spread.

“It has to make more noise to let everyone know about the quality of its local technology businesses,” concludes the report.