Parkinson Building, Leeds University
Image Source: Tim Green
Parkinson Building, Leeds University.
Jane Imrie

Northern universities team up to support spinouts with new investment firm

A trio of universities have joined forces to launch a new investment company to support university spinout and startups across the North.

The Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester are launching a new investment company in a bid to boost the commercialisation of university spinouts and startups from the North.

The company, called Northern Gritstone, will fund spinout enterprises from each institution using external capital raised from a range of different investors. These businesses will either be newly formed spinouts or ones historically founded by or linked to the universities.

Northern Gritstone plans to raise up to £500m from strategic corporate partners, institutional investors and qualifying individuals, providing funding for a range of companies across areas such as advanced materials and manufacturing, health and life sciences, artificial intelligence and data sciences.

Jane Madeley, University of Leeds’ chief financial officer, commented: “Leeds and our fellow founding universities are technological powerhouses, pursuing research and innovation that has the potential to help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world.

“But a lack of capital investment has sometimes limited that capability – Northern Gritstone will go a long way to help release this pent-up potential.”

Professor Dave Petley, vice-president for innovation at the University of Sheffield, added: “Northern Gritstone is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and collaboration between three of the country’s leading research universities, but we are just at the beginning of a project that has immense potential for everyone, from investors to researchers.

“The combination of a globally significant cluster of highly innovative activity and large-scale investment power will drive the rapid scale-up of firms at the forefront of sectors based on technologies such as health and life sciences, AI and data analytics, advanced materials and manufacturing.”

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