More than £23m injected into region’s companies by venture capital provider
Mercia Asset Management invested over £23.7m in Yorkshire and Humber businesses during 2022.
It backed 62 companies during the year including Leeds-based Little Journey, whose app helps reduce anxiety in children undergoing surgery, Sheffield-based smart sensor firm Tribosonics and nurse call systems specialist Arquella, and Hull-based Operance, which develops building information software.
Mercia also successfully exited some of its earlier investments including four Sheffield-based businesses.
Faradion, a world leader in sodium-ion battery technology, was acquired for £100m by Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, which is investing a further £25m in the site.
IN-PART, an academia-industry collaboration platform, was acquired by Inova, while hospitality tech firm Airship was acquired by industry leader Zonal, and Azzure IT by Content+Cloud.
In December Mercia opened a new office in Hull to expand its presence in the Humber region and complement its existing office in Leeds.
One of the longest-established VCs in the North, Mercia provides funding from a range of sources including the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) and its own funds and invests mainly in the regions outside of London.
Will Clark, managing director of Regional Venture Funds at Mercia, said: “Venture capital plays an important role in developing the industries of the future but with the majority of funding focused on London, the regions continue to be underserved. Mercia aims to address that gap.
“After years of investing in Yorkshire and Humber, we are now seeing the results, with some of the businesses we have backed emerging as leaders in their field and attracting attention from international buyers or investors.
“One of the benefits of being in the North is that costs are lower and investment goes further, which is a real strength in the current climate.
“And while the cost of hiring and retaining developers has been a key challenge for regional tech companies in the past, there are signs that wage inflation is starting to ease.
“Despite the economic outlook, we see lots of opportunity in Yorkshire and Humber, with many exciting new businesses and cutting-edge technologies.”
Sean Hutchinson, at British Business Bank, added: “Through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Mercia is driving forward crucial investment in Yorkshire and the Humber, providing transformational funding opportunities for businesses such as Faradion, IN-PART, Airship, Azzure IT, Little Journey, Tribasoncs and Arquella.
“Throughout 2023, companies will be looking to secure access to finance to help them take their businesses to the next level, and it is no doubt that NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance will be pivotal in realising these goals.”