A new venture fund backed by the state-owned British Business Bank has launched in Scotland today with the aim of rebalancing start-up investment away from London towards the north of the UK.
Par Equity, an Edinburgh-based investment outfit, announced it had secured £67m for a new vehicle led by the Scottish National Investment Bank and British Business Investments, the commercial arm of the British Business Bank.
Bosses said they were still raising capital for the fund and were gunning for an eventual size of £100m.
Venture capital funding in the UK has historically been weighted heavily towards London while start-ups around the rest of the country are often forced to draw on London-based investors or shift their operations to the capital to raise cash.
Paul Munn, managing partner at Par Equity, said the new fund would look to level the playing field for start-ups in the north.
“We would hope it’s the start of a correction,” he told City A.M. “So much VC money is in London, and most of that money is concentrated in the Golden Triangle. And there’s a really underserved market up here in the north of the UK.
“It’s a very big, big market, but there’s really very little activity for seed funding,” he added.
Venture funding has dipped over the past 18 months but remains heavily weighted towards London and the South East. A new data set from Dealroom and HSBC Innovation Banking found that London firms attracted some $22.1bn last year compared to $714 across the whole of Scotland and $914m across the North West.
The fund will be lead and support series A funding rounds across the North of England and Scotland. Munn will head the firm out of its Edinburgh office, alongside a recently launched Leeds base.
Launched in 2008 by Munn, Robert Higginson, Paul Atkinson and Andrew Castell, Par Equity has invested over £160m into 77 early-stage technology companies to date.