Regional investors collaborate to improve access to funding

Two regional investors have agreed a new strategic partnership to provide enhanced support for early-stage companies in the Northern Powerhouse region.

DSW Ventures and NorthInvest have been working together for some time, with the former having invested in two companies – PopTop and OneUtilityBill – as a result. The newly formalised partnership will see closer collaboration between the two organisations, providing quicker access for NorthInvest companies to venture capital funding from DSW Ventures.

DSW Ventures, which was previously known as DSW Angels and is the venture capital arm of the Dow Schofield Watts group, invests in scale-up companies in the regions while NorthInvest helps start-ups connect with angel and venture capital investors, typically for pre-seed funding, and offers free coaching to founders.

Both organisations can deploy additional funding to support investments – NorthInvest from Innovate UK’s Regional Angel Investment Accelerator (RAIA) with the Innovation SuperNetwork, and DSW Ventures from its £10m fund from the British Business Bank’s Regional Angel Programme.

David Smith, co-founder of DSW Ventures, said: “With the economy feeling the impact of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that funders work together to create a supportive start-up ecosystem. We already have a close alignment with Northinvest and a history of productive working. This agreement will formalise the relationship and increase our joint impact.

“As the appetite of our investors remains undiminished by the Covid-19 crisis, it will also provide access to an even wider range of high-quality investment opportunities.”

Helen Oldham, Founding Board Director of NorthInvest, added: “There is no lack of ambitious entrepreneurs in the North, but as a region we need to find ways to nurture them from the pre-seed stage and provide access to funding opportunities to back innovative ideas. This partnership with DSW Ventures will increase access to larger sums of funding for our start-up community with a view to future funding rounds.

“It is an example of how VCs and angels can work together to give start-ups a clear roadmap to growth.”

Founded in 2018, NorthInvest has facilitated more than £8m investment in over 20 deals and supported over 600 entrepreneurs. DSW Ventures has backed six regional technology-enabled businesses and deployed £3m of funding with £1.5m of additional co-investment.

DSW ventures NorthInvest