Successful first quarter for NorthInvest despite COVID-19 disruption

NorthInvest supported three investment rounds in the first quarter of 2020. NorthInvest has helped IP-rich start-ups based in the North of England raise almost £2m through its funding network, and has already hosted two virtual pitch events since lockdown began.

While companies rally in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak NorthInvest partnered with Sunderland-based business consultancy, RTC North, to host fundraising event Pitchfest 2020 online on 15th April. The organisations pivoted to a virtual webinar when the lockdown was announced to host the pitch event that connected six start-ups with over 25 investors from NorthInvest’s private investor network. 

Following the successful pilot of this online model, NorthInvest hosted a second pitch event with Newcastle-based Innovation SuperNetwork the following week. This event connected six start-ups with 20 private investors and VCs from the NorthInvest and Northern Angel Hub networks. Across these pitch events, 46% of entrepreneurs presenting were female founders.

NorthInvest also helped facilitate four successful fundraising rounds for IP-rich start-ups in the first quarter. Most recently, Newcastle-based One Utility Bill, a PropTech company which facilitates the billing process for tenants, landlords and letting agents, raised an investment round of £1.5m. The raise was led by DSW Angels and supported in part by NorthInvest, who provided coaching and facilitated the introduction to the regional-focused organisation. 

Led by NorthInvest Investment Director Jordan Dargue, Dyman Advanced Materials successfully raised £65,000 in January 2020. The Durham-based startup is developing new technology for synthetic diamond production. The funding will allow the company to complete the Proof of Concept phase for its innovative synthetic diamond manufacturing technology, and transition to production. 

aiPatient, a Manchester-based EdTech platform connecting medical consultants with virtual AI-driven patients, also raised £150,000 which was then match-funded by Innovate UK following the company’s successful application through the Regional Angel Investor Accelerator programme, facilitated by NorthInvest in partnership with Innovation SuperNetwork, the North East Business Innovation Centre and UKBAA.

Leeds-based data centre efficiency start-up, Edgetic, also benefited from the Regional Angel Investor Accelerator programme. The highly innovative start-up was awarded £150,000 in grant funding from Innovate UK as part of the RAIA programme, with the application also led by NorthInvest Investment Director Jordan Dargue. 

Tony Heywood, Executive Chairman of Edgetic, said: “The advice, encouragement and support we received from NorthInvest enabled us to apply successfully for a UK Innovate grant and secure matching angel investment that have been transformational for our business. Without their support, I am not sure we would have achieved the outcome we needed.”

Helen Oldham, Founding Board Director of NorthInvest, commented: “We’re delighted withthe progress NorthInvest has made already in 2020 despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue utilising tech to adapt our operations to provide the best possible experience for our investor and start-up community. We would also like to thank our partners, particularly Amsource, Innovation SuperNetwork, and RTC North, who not only offer specialist support to our network, but whose collaborative approach has enabled us to pivot quickly to continue our services to our investors and entrepreneurs.”

Professor Adam Beaumont, Founder of NorthInvest, stated: “The hard work of our talented team is allowing us to bring together an ever-growing community of active investors from across the North of England, particularly in the North East, with a strong pipeline of credible founders and startups. This community is more important now than ever during the current COVID-19 crisis and we have no doubt we will continue on a positive trajectory moving into the next quarter.”