Lord Jim O’Neil investment vehicle secures first close of £215m

Lord Jim O'Neill

A new investment business, Northern Gritstone, which is chaired by one of the architects of the Northern Powerhouse Lord Jim O’Neil has secured a first close of £215m having seen strong interest from investors in its proposition focused on university spin-outs in the north.

Northern Gritstone is led by chief executive Duncan Johnson and is expected to begin deploying capital and making its first investments in innovative start-ups in the coming weeks after attracting funding commitments from investors including local authority pension funds such as the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Pension Funds, high net worth individuals as well as institutional and real estate investors.

Other investors included Columbia Threadneedle, Lansdowne Partners, and Bruntwood as well as Andrew Law, the CEO of Caxton Associates, and Keith Breslauer, Managing Director and founder of Patron Capital, both in a personal capacity.

The new business, which was launched in July last year by the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, has plans to raise £500m overall and following this initial fundraising milestone will continue to welcome further backers over the coming months.

Lord O’Neil said: “The strong endorsement of Northern Gritstone we’ve seen from investors is testament to the huge scale of the opportunity in northern England’s world class science and innovation hubs and the spin outs they are producing. By investing in Northern Gritstone, asset managers are directly buying into the brightest prospects for Britain’s future economy.

“Today marks a significant milestone as Northern Gritstone continues to build its investor base allowing the company to deliver its philosophy of Profit with Purpose which underpins all we seek to do.”

The company which was founded on the philosophy of ‘profit with purpose’, looks to combine attractive returns with wider positive, societal and economic impact and will support the Levelling Up agenda as it looks to support the commercialisation of science and IP-rich businesses originating from its three founding research-led institutions.

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