Scheme is at the cutting edge of tech growth

Sir Terry Leahy

Backed by shareholders, including former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, Liverpool-based ‘co-foundery’ Nova is at the cutting edge of tech growth.

The concept behind the operation is simple and effective: Nova partners with fledgling entrepreneurs to launch scaleable tech businesses, providing vital mentorship, guidance and funding.

Focusing on sectors such as healthtech, fintech and e-gaming, Nova takes a 25 per cent equity stake in each business with venture capitalists taking another 25 per cent.

Nova says its start-ups are more successful than the industry average with more than half still flourishing after three years.

The company has already co-founded 80 start-ups and has plans to support a further 40 by the end of this year.

Nova and its 70-strong staff have just moved into its new headquarters in the city’s northern docklands.

Its chief marketing officer Alistair Marsden says: “When you look at the numbers the North West is a really good place to be a tech start-up.

“There’s good growth across the whole of the UK, Europe and America, as people start to understand more and more what it takes to make a good start-up.

“Some risks still exist and the whole reason why our business exists is to remove those risks.”

Marsden points to Liverpool’s expertise as the largest wealth management centre outside London and the strength of fintech.

Medtech is also moving forward and Nova is involved in a number of collaborations with the world-renowned Alder Hey children’s hospital.

He also talks about the work taking place at Europe’s first dedicated 5G health and social care pilot in the city region. “There’s lots of interesting stuff going on,” Marsden says.

He adds that more and more start-ups in the North West are going through to the next level of growth and funds in the region are investing.

However, he adds that growth in the North West has lagged behind that seen in London, which is where the money market is. Though he also says that investors are beginning to realise that opportunities that exist in the region and are starting to get on the train to see for themselves.

He adds: “If the resources in London could understand the resource that exists outside the M25 the sheer power in terms of tech businesses would be immense.

“If we could all come together, not only the North West and Northern Powerhouse, but also London, everyone would benefit.”