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Podcast: Tackling the North-South tech funding gap – Praetura Ventures’ Jess Jackson

Jess Jackson UKTN Podcast

In this week’s episode of the UKTN Podcast, Jess Jackson, investment manager at Manchester-based VC Praetura Ventures, discusses the challenges startups in the North face, the stark gender divide in the tech and investment worlds and how the government should be supporting small businesses and underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Jackson joined the Manchester-based venture capital firm in 2022 after years of managing investments at early-stage investor GC Angels. Jackson is also a founding member of Fund Her North, a collective of female investors campaigning for equal treatment and opportunities for northern women in tech.

During the show, Jackson goes over why the North struggles to attract the same level of investment as the Golden Triangle in the South East.

“There’s just way more wealth down there and there always has been,” Jackson said. “It’s a drop in the ocean, what we have here in the north compared to what is down there.”

Jackson calls out what she sees as a lack of support for the north of England, and claims the region has had to become “scrappy” and “build what we need ourselves”.

As a VC based in northern England, Praetura has a keen focus on backing firms from the region. The group launched a northern tech startup VCT targeting £10m last year.

Jackson said inequality in investment remains a problem not just for those in the North, but for women entrepreneurs.

“Venture capital as an industry is incredibly un-diverse in and of itself,” Jackson said.

“The majority of roles are occupied by men and while we are seeing positive movements with more women entering venture capital…the more senior you go, the worse those diversity stats become.”

Listen to the full episode here, along with all previous episodes of the UKTN Podcast.

The UKTN Podcast is sponsored by HSBC Innovation Banking, which offers flexible banking solutions for startups, scaleups, growth businesses, investors and those working towards IPO.

Throughout the series, the UKTN Podcast will be speaking to some of the key movers and shakers from UK tech. We’ll learn growth strategies from both seasoned and up-and-coming founders, hear market sentiments from investors, and question policymakers on the decisions impacting the country’s innovation economy.

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