THE national venture capital group that runs a £25m fund for technology business is confident it will soon be able to reveal new additions to its roster of completed deals.
IP Group has already invested £250,000 in Teesside technology firm Onyx, as well as £750,000 in Newcastle train tech company Nomad Digital via the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund.
The fund was launched last year and aims to support more than 60 high- growth businesses in the region with packages of between £50,000 and £1.25m. IP boasts a team of four in Newcastle who work with a nationwide workforce of 25.
Newcastle-based IP Group investment manager Nick Edgar said the company is also preparing to hold its third clinic for residents of Sedgefield’s NetPark technology park on February 1, allowing interested parties to learn more about effective commercialisation and acquiring investment.
Edgar said: “We’ve already announced investments in Nomad Digital and Onyx, and we’re on track to get through the legals and signed agreements stage with quite a few more.
“We’ve found demand has been very strong. It’s a relatively tough economic climate and there’s a lot of people engaged with start-ups as well as growing businesses.
“We’ve had about 250 to 300 enquiries to data. We’re actively building a portfolio that ranges from pre-revenue businesses to companies with turnover of £15m or more. This year has started very positively in terms of the number and quality of things hitting our desk.”
IP Group moved into the North East market last year, and says the quality of the region’s technology companies and the ability to link up with regional universities were key drivers in the decision.
It has links with 10 universities nationwide and has helped raise more than £370m in funding for clients in the last ten years. Edgar will hold regular clinics at NetPark, and has already noted the success of two previous sessions at the park. He will also be a resident expert in NetPark Net’s finance zone.
Stewart Watkins, the managing director of County Durham Development Company which manages NetPark, said: “This will be a real help to many of the innovative businesses that are rising out of NETPark, and will help put the region firmly on the science and technology map, in turn helping to create more high-quality job opportunities in the North East.”
While the group has a portfolio of businesses of varying size, Edgar said it is interested in businesses that fill a strong market need and have a strong unique selling proposition.
He said: “We definitely want to emphasise we’re not expecting younger businesses that come to us to have everything in place. We have access to sector specialists in the wider national team as well as contacts and an understanding of that wider ecosystem of people doing similar things.
“For the right business where the right things are in place, there’s also a dedicated corporate finance function to help go out and raise further funding. Our stated objective is to help bring in other funding packages alongside our own, whether that’s banks or angel investors, looking to leverage in wider funding. I think that will become a feature of the majority of the business deals were looking to back.”