Innovators from the North of England descended on London yesterday [Wednesday 21 February] to pitch their businesses to a roomful of heavy-weight investors.
A total of 30 entrepreneurs formed part of a delegation of businesspeople from across the North of England, who were selected to take part in Entrepreneurs of the North.
The event, organised by the North East Innovation SuperNetwork and supported by UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) and British Business Bank, offered ambitious Northern companies the opportunity to travel to London and meet investors who were proactively looking to expand their portfolios.
Over 80 investors attended the bespoke event at the Bank of England’s iconic London headquarters. They were impressed with the quality of businesses and the event concept, which provided the unique opportunity to learn about a diverse range of companies during quick-fire 60 second pitches before the marketplace networking opportunity – all in the space of one afternoon.
James Foster, Investment Lead at ADV, said: “We’re a patient venture investor looking for companies that are building potentially industry defining tech. At the seed stage, founders get support from angels, incubators, accelerators, their peers and the ecosystem itself. Events like this are a fantastic way of bringing those networks together to create a diverse room of entrepreneurs and investors looking to work with each other. It’s great for ADV to be part of this and hopefully we’ll build some meaningful connections.”
The businesses, which are based across the North East, Tees Valley, North West and Yorkshire regions, covered a variety of sectors and sizes. These included mobile messaging for healthcare, sales performance software, a mobile dating app, business intranet solutions, renewable energy, medical devices and sports data analytics. [See full details of all the companies below in Notes to Editors]
Sukh Ryatt, Managing Director at Oak Intranet, Gateshead-based intranet specialists who are innovating the way business uses cloud technology to connect; said: “Oak Intranet has its origins as one of the largest and most respected providers of intranet solutions in the UK. Cloud technology has opened-up the way we all do business and we’re excited to enter a new chapter as we tackle the wealth of opportunity offered by the cloud. Entrepreneurs of the North is a great opportunity to present our ideas for driving forward our business to investors that are genuinely interested in seeking out the next innovative business opportunity.”
Kevin Beales, CEO at Newcastle-based Refract, said: “Entrepreneurs of the North was a fantastic opportunity for us to get in front of a room of angels that could be a great fit for our business, not only providing potential further investment but add value to what we offer as a business.”
Lloyd Lawson, Business Development Director at Durham-based Engenera Renewables, said: “Entrepreneurs of the North presented us with a ‘one-stop’ chance to connect with potential investors, and start conversations we hope to be able to explore in more detail to secure the funding we need to take our business to the next stage of development.”
Entrepreneurs of the North offers the opportunity for growth plans to be realised by broadening access to finance to enable businesses to continue to develop within the North.
Simon Green, CEO at the Innovation SuperNetwork, said: “Businesses from across the North of England are at the forefront of a range of ground-breaking service and product innovations, and it’s important that they have access to a range of platforms which enable them to showcase their potential and secure the funding needed to grow.
“Entrepreneurs of the North gives businesses an additional opportunity to unlock investment by bringing together high-calibre, growing Northern businesses with active investors from the South. It has been a fantastic opportunity to enable those new introductions and to showcase the diverse Northern businesses that are disrupting their sectors.
“I would like to thank all of the investors and businesses who took part in this year’s Entrepreneurs of the North, as well as our partners, who all helped make the day such a success.”
Lea Paterson, the Bank of England’s Director of Independent Evaluation, who introduced the event, said: “The Bank of England has 12 regional agencies, and we regularly get out and talk to businesses on the ground to understand what’s really going on around the country. Understanding more about the barriers to growth, and about access to growth capital, is one of the areas where we are keen to learn more. Events like yesterday’s are central to supporting businesses and investors in building vital connections between one another – and ultimately helping to deliver the productivity improvements that are so critical for the UK economy. The Bank of England is really pleased to have been able to play a small role by hosting the event and wishes the businesses and investors who took part every success.”
The event is one strand of the North East Innovation SuperNetwork’s wide and varied programme which supports North East businesses to access the money they need to grow and innovate within the region. Investors will be invited to a range of events throughout the year including FinanceCamp North East, which is due to take place this summer.
Entrepreneurs of the North is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with around 50 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. The SuperNetwork is supported by the North East LEP, Innovate UK, Engie, Northumbrian Water Group, Reece Innovation and the North East BIC, with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Notes to editors
For information please contact Innovation SuperNetwork Communications Manager Shelley Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full list of 30 companies that attended Entrepreneurs of the North were:
- Animmersion, Middlesbrough: Delivers immersive solutions to enhance the value of technical products and services. Animmersion works with product owners and their marketing colleagues to design, prototype and then deliver immersive solutions.
- ArmaTrex, North Tyneside: A start-up SME developing expanding foam technology for medical splinting devices to be marketed to private and public medical, trauma treatment and health, military and related industries.
- Chromition, Manchester: A developer, producer and supplier of proprietary optoelectronic solutions that enable the realisation of next-generation bioimaging, lighting, anticounterfeit, decorative, sunlight down-conversion & low-powered printed electronics/sensor applications.
- Creation Express, Bury: Creation Express is the world’s first instore personalisation system enabling retailers to make quality, personalised cards and gifts in minutes.
- Engenera, Stanley, County Durham: A renewable technology company that provides a unique platform for project investors to gain rapid entry into the renewable energy sector, by offering an immediate project portfolio, with a guaranteed IRR.
- Equiwatt, Newcastle: Equiwatt’s vision is to uberise the energy markets. Its AI & IoT platform rewards households for saving energy when the energy grid is under stress.
- Evidence Based Education, Durham: Effective teaching leads to improved outcomes for students. This requires teachers who make good decisions. Evidence Based Education create worldclass training on improving the quality of these decisions, ultimately leading to better student outcomes.
- Final Stage, Manchester: A cloud-based talent-sharing platform enabling companies to share their unutilised talent from a hiring process, and in return open up new pools of quality talent for future positions.
- Flame Concepts, Cockermouth, Cumbria: Partnering with leading names in events, conference and the charity sector, Flame provides innovative and specialist digital based ticketing and registrations with integrity.
- Frontier Technical, Northumberland: A floating offshore wind technology delivery organisation, and provides R&D project monitoring services to Innovate UK in the biomedical, food, rail, semiconductor, additive manufacturing, and surface coatings sectors.
- Game Sessions, Sheffield: The first free core gaming service, providing sponsored Giveaway games and free trials to millions of gamers.
- G&H Security, Sunderland: G & H Security have created TRAK-IT, a collar and implant which tracks animals, so you can recover your family pet, even if stolen. It provides data which determines whether your pet needs to see a vet.
- Hospify, Clitheroe, Lancashire: Compliant and secure mobile messaging service for healthcare professionals and patients that provides the convenience of consumer solutions while keeping within UK and EU rules around confidentiality and data protection.
- IC Innovations, Sheffield: A licensed brand product design, import and distribution business. Supplying B2B retailers since 2005 it now plans to rapidly scale through online B2C sales channel expansion.
- Jig Talk, Leeds: The dating app that covers your face in 16 jigsaw pieces, these pieces unveil as messages are exchanged – talk more equals see more. Reminding the world it’s what’s inside that counts.
- LASULA, Manchester: Ladies fashion, e-commerce.
- Libertine, Sheffield: Making high performance linear electrical machines that provide the motion control authority and power conversion efficiency demanded by the world’s leading free piston innovators.
- Oak, Gateshead: Develops enterprise-grade intranet solutions.
- Ojee Golf, Middlesbrough: Sports technology company Ojee Golf have developed TALON, a patented digital training aid to help improve and refine a fundamental component of every golfer’s game.
- Orcha, Daresbury, Cheshire: The world’s largest health app library based on a live resource of reviewed and rated health apps which can be easily searched, compared, recommended, and downloaded.
- Parent Hub, Manchester: Changing the way schools and parents communicate. It simplifies communication to help parents engage with their child’s learning – all streamlined through the Parent Hub app.
- Pickwatch, Hebburn: A sports data analytics platform founded in 2012 with 2.4m users (2017) in America. The company brings sports data to fans in an accessible, informative way.
- Presca, Middlesbrough: The UK’s only manufacturer of high performance sustainable teamwear. Provides fully customised cycling, running and triathlon clothing for all teams from local clubs through to FTSE100 corporates.
- Refract, Newcastle: Provides insight into sales conversations, analysing what aligns with an organisation’s top performers and successful outcomes.
- Reproductive Sciences, Chester: Early stage medical device company selling EVIE®, a patented improvement on traditional intra-uterine insemination for treating infertility using slow-release insemination.
- SentrySIS, Leeds: A secure cloud software solution used by Police Constabularies, Crime Partnerships and National Retailers. Customers receive efficiencies through productivity and process management tools resulting in huge costs savings.
- Silent Sensors, Sedgefield, County Durham: Make high temperature smart materials for polymer and rubber products to enable IOT as a service business models for high value consumables.
- ULEMCo, Liverpool: Sells globally innovative ultra-low carbon technologies, using hydrogen fuel for the commercial vehicle sector (HGV, urban trucks and vans); meeting operators’ needs to cut carbon and improve air quality.
- UniChat, Manchester: A chatbot designed to automatically answer the questions enquiring students have.
- Videregen, Liverpool: Initially focused on diseases of the airway, Videregen aims to develop the world’s first commercially available organ replacements.
European Regional Development Fund
The project is receiving up to £522,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.