Friday High Five – what’s been in the news this week

The collapse of Orka Technology must have been a chastening moment for the investment team at Praetura Ventures as they make plans to invest £100m of essentially taxpayers money in businesses to stimulate the regional economy for generations to come.

They were follow-on investors in a business that had been backed by phase one of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. 

It was widely regarded as a good outfit, employing over skilled 50 people at one point, and regularly featured as a case study of our region’s tech successes.

Founder Tom Pickersgill’s conversation with me earlier this week was hard for him, as the key quote in the headline summarised, for tech businesses raising money, it’s hell out there.

On our Rainmakers platform this week I’ve written about Redx Pharma, once the great hope of North West biotech, which is to delist from the London stock market, another circle of investment hell.

Lisa Anson and Jane Griffiths obviously see savings and opportunities elsewhere than the collapsing AIM listing.

Reports on the investment agenda often talk about an ecosystem, and joining up opportunities and investment.

On that theme, this week I had a triple dose of Andy Burnham, with some added Steve Rotheram thrown in for good measure.

The Mayoral double act have written a book – Head North – which includes some innovative ideas on shaking up the way the country is run, which I’ve just read. 

I also went to the launch of Burnham’s Mayoral re-election campaign on Wednesday, where he made a call for businesses to sign up to support his Manchester curriculum, aimed at giving better opportunities to the 60% of the region’s kids who don’t go to university.

The next day both Mayors were in attendance at the Net Zero North West launch, where they made a strong case for a green industrial strategy that links skills to investment in green infrastructure.

Burnham and Rotheram at Net Zero NW launch

Which brings me back to NPIF. Its scope has to be far beyond tech companies in city centres.

On the evidence of the news this week they could do a lot worse than taking a trip to the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake, where £4.25m of investment from Comhar Capital, to support the ambitious growth plans of Lakes Distillery, has paid off.

Though it would probably be best to steer clear of football, as Everton’s latest financials show.

Have a great weekend.   


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