Tegan Chapman

Northern Accelerator to establish £100m venture capital fund for university spin-outs

A partnership of North East universities is embarking on the creation of a £100m venture capital fund for spin-out businesses in the region.

Northern Accelerator is a collaboration between Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities.

Since its inception in 2016 has increased the number of spin-out businesses from its partner universities from an average of 1.8 per year, to an expected ten businesses launching in this academic year alone.

The partnership is now seeking an experienced venture capital partner to raise funds and manage investment, including the creation and management of a Northern Universities Investment Fund – an evergreen venture capital fund for spin-out businesses from North East universities.

Venture capital partners are invited to express an interest via Durham University’s procurement portal by 17 June 2019.

Roy Sandbach OBE, chair of Northern Accelerator’s Strategic Advisory Board, said: “Northern Accelerator is a game-changer for the north east economy, a vital contribution to delivering the regional strategic economic plans and a national exemplar. The programme spans boundaries and drives collaboration.

“It connects world-class university research with proven business expertise, creating viable enterprises that will contribute to regional prosperity.”

Northern Accelerator’s unique model, building on an initial ERDF programme, has been put in place with the backing of £4.9m from Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund and it offers a range of innovation support. This includes the pioneering ‘executives into business’ programme which matches talented business with opportunities to lead spin-out businesses from an early stage.

Execs into business offers remuneration, linked to key milestones, in addition to traditional sweat activity and this unique model has proved highly successful, attracting a strong pool of candidate executives from an (inter)national base, bringing a diversity of approaches and expediting access to investment.

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