The South Yorkshire Angel Hub, a partnership between Leeds-based investment non-profit NorthInvest and TEAM SY, has been officially launched. This programme is part-funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund.
Supported by the British Business Bank, the hub’s launch event was attended by more than 35 investors from across the region made up of high net worths, funds, institutions and family offices.
Sophie Dale-Black, UK Network Director for the North of England at the British Business Bank, said: “We are really pleased to support the launch of the South Yorkshire Angel Hub. I’m confident it will go on to be a key partnership within the region’s investment ecosystem supporting local businesses.
“Programmes like these are vital in connecting early-stage founders and entrepreneurs with capital. Our Regions and Nations Tracker report found that investors typically favour short distance deals, so taking action locally to improve finance options for businesses is exactly where the focus needs to be,” she added.
Representatives from local authorities, key stakeholders in the investment ecosystem and representatives of organisations with a background in professional services also attended in support of the hub. The event featured a roundtable discussion chaired by Jordan Dargue, Director of NorthInvest.
Attendees discussed how they can better support the entrepreneurial journey through collaboration and co-investment, as well as the importance of angel investing in South Yorkshire and how community involvement can make a difference.
Jordan Dargue said: “We can see that that many key players and stakeholders across the region are in full support of the angel hub launch, and we are now seeing the activity coming to fruition.
“This type of activity is vital for the wider South Yorkshire area. The businesses and startups which need it the most are dispersed, so collaboration across all funding and financing elements needs to come together to help and support early-stage founders access much-needed capital.”
More than 100 companies across South Yorkshire are involved with Team SY programmes and it is likely that a significant number of these will ultimately be looking for additional funding from the South Yorkshire Angel Hub. One such firm for whom funding has already been confirmed is FourJaw, a manufacturing data analytics platform which has raised more than £1,000,000 following support from NorthInvest and the hub.
“This new round of funding empowers us to strengthen our team, accelerate growth, and deliver our exciting product roadmap as we forge ahead on our journey to change the world of manufacturing productivity,” said FourJaw’s co-founder and CEO, Chris Iveson.
The hub has been created to bring founders of tech businesses and investors together and to make it easier for founders to gain early-stage funding.
Samantha Deakin Hill, Super Connector for TEAM SY, Capital Enterprise, said: “Access to good quality capital is essential for startups to thrive and grow in a region. This is especially true at the early stages where angels and other seed investors make a tremendous difference to individual companies and the wider economy.
“This hub will form a critical part of the tech startup ecosystem across South Yorkshire and we look forward to seeing a marked increase in investment activity with more deals done, more jobs created and more companies putting down roots in the region.”
With a focus on developing an angel network and syndicate, the hub will support and manage investing capacity and angel network activities throughout the region.
Backed by many organisations across the region, including South Yorkshire Housing Association, TwinklHive, Anticus Partners on behalf of Finance Yorkshire and Mercia Asset Management PLC, the hub is an important part of the future economy across South Yorkshire.
Of the founding partners, NorthInvest is a well-established angel investment network that was founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Prof Adam Beaumont.
Its aim as a not-for-profit investment organisation was to build a stronger and more connected tech investor and start-up community across the North of England. TEAM SY is delivered by Capital Enterprise and is expanding and improving business support and investment in South Yorkshire by delivering high quality, pre-accelerator, accelerator and investment readiness programmes.
With its dense and intense programme of acceleration in the region, the joint project will aim to generate the critical mass of activities necessary to raise lasting interest from both businesses and investors and embed a culture of acceleration and investment into the business support ecosystem.