Newcastle’s Northstar Ventures launches tech fund

Edward Twiddy

Newcastle-based venture capital and social investment firm Northstar Ventures has launched its first Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fund, the Northstar EIS Growth Fund, which is now open for subscriptions.

The first close of the fund is targeted for March 31, 2024, with investment then being made into a diverse portfolio of technology companies in the North East of England during the 2024-25 tax year.

The new fund is for high net worth and sophisticated investors only.

“The fund will provide individual investors with an opportunity to benefit from tax efficient, venture scale returns, whilst also playing a key role in driving innovation, impact and prosperity in the North East region,” said Northstar.

Northstar said the fund will invest in the North East of England’s highest potential technology scale-up companies “focusing on the clean tech and healthy ageing sectors, where the region has global competitive advantage.”

Northstar Ventures recently appointment a new chair in Edward Twiddy, co-founder of Durham based fintech Atom Bank and former director of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Alongside his board position at Northstar, Twiddy is retaining a role as Director of Environment, Society and Government at Atom, where he has been leading Atom’s engagement with schools and universities across the region.

He also brings his expertise from ongoing roles at Durham University, Tyne Rivers Trust, and his time with HM Treasury and on the advisory panel for the Northern Accelerator programme.

Northstar Ventures has invested over £100 million into start-ups, early stage businesses and high impact social enterprises. 

Northstar said the EIS Growth Fund will provide additional capital to companies that have established management teams, proven business models and revenue traction, and which are looking for further capital to “supercharge” their growth.

“Northstar’s portfolio of investee companies includes Advanced Electric Machines (AEM), AMLO Biosciences and Low Carbon Materials (one of 15 global finalists for the 2022 Earthshot Prize),” said Northstar.

“Each of these companies is already on a path to rapid scaling – most recently exemplified by AEM’s completion in November 2023 of a £23m round which will support a substantial expansion of the company’s next generation electric motor production facility and expansion of its product range.

“The fund will invest in companies with similar growth and value creation potential.”

Alasdair Greig, Director of Northstar Ventures, said: “The north of England is a centre of excellence for climate, health and digital technology. Having spent some 20 years working with entrepreneurs and a number of leading universities in the region, we have a well-established reputation of being a proactive and supportive investment partner for innovative, high growth next generation businesses.

‘The new EIS fund is designed to focus on the scale up capital needed by the very best companies in our region to help them grow to achieve their potential while also delivering transformative solutions that address some of the biggest challenges that our society is facing.”