The University of Manchester

Northern Gritstone secures final close of £312m with broad base of investors

  • Fundraise includes over £150m from local and regional authority pension funds
  • This will be deployed to back science and technology firms in the North of England
  • Builds on momentum of 15 initial investments and investment team expansion

Northern Gritstone, the investment business focused on university spin-outs and IP-rich businesses in the North of England, has announced a final close of £312m, anchored by investments from local authority pension funds.

Northern Gritstone is was launched in July 2021 by the Universities of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield focused is focused on to supporting the commercialisation of academic spin-outs in the north of England

More than £150m of the funding commitments have been provided by: Greater Manchester Pension Fund; South Yorkshire Pension Fund; East Riding Pension Fund; West Yorkshire Pension Fund; and Merseyside Pension Fund and.

These have been boosted by additional investments from the metro mayors for Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire, showcasing the strong local support for Northern Gritstone’s aim to create a hub of technology and innovation in the region.

Chaired by Lord Jim O’Neill and led by Chief Executive Duncan Johnson, Northern Gritstone has also secured the support of a large number of leading institutional investors including M&G, Columbia Threadneedle, British Patient Capital (part of the British Business Bank), Lansdowne Partners, and property investor Bruntwood.

The announcement builds on the momentum that the company has built since its first close in May 2022, which has seen it make initial investments in early-stage businesses and expand its investment team under the leadership of Chief Investment Officer, Marion Bernard.

The company has begun to provide funding to some of the North of England’s world-class science and innovation based businesses. It has already announced investments in 15 companies in the region across advanced materials, life sciences, health technology and AI as part of deals that have contributed nearly £100m in funding.

Northern Gritstone will continue to increase its investments in these areas, tapping into the pipeline of developments in the North of England that include some of the UK’s most exciting future science and technology-enabled businesses many emanating from the research undertaken at Northern Gritstone’s partner universities of The University of Leeds, The University of Manchester and The University of Sheffield.

In its fundraising Northern Gritstone was advised by Lazard Venture and Growth Banking led by Garri Jones. Its legal advisers are Macfarlanes.

Northern Gritstone Chair, Lord Jim O’Neill, said: “Our ability to raise funding on this scale highlights the support for the world-class science and innovation being developed in the North of England.

“Receiving the endorsements of asset managers, mayors and pension funds shows the broad appeal of Northern Gritstone’s offering. It is a show of faith in the potential for growth in the northern economy and a significant step in our development of a technology and innovation hub in the region.”

Northern Gritstone CEO, Duncan Johnson, said: “For too long, the North of England’s world-class research and innovation has not received the funding it deserves. Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in both the region and our Profit with Purpose philosophy.

“Our investments have already delivered nearly £100m of investment into the North of England, providing support to some of the country’s most promising businesses. Our investors’ backing will allow us to explore further opportunities across the wider northern venture ecosystem and stimulate growth and job creation in the region.”

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