EXCLUSIVE: Angel network aims to give wings to Northern tech
A new business angel network aims to boost the North's tech sector by bringing together early-stage companies with experienced entrepreneurs to provide investment, mentoring and support.
Dow Schofield Watts Angels aims to provide a strong and active angel network similar to those in Scotland and Cambridge, where angels have played a key role in the growth of the tech sector.
It has the support of many high-profile Northern entrepreneurs including Bill Ainscough of Wainhomes, Richard Law of GB Group, Peter Mansfield of Call Credit, and Anthony Molloy of Daisy Group.
The network has been launched by independent advisory firm Dow Schofield Watts and will be led by David Smith, who heads its technology team and who formerly managed the North West Fund for Digital & Creative.
Aiming to address the funding gap for early-stage technology investment across the Northern Powerhouse, it will focus on promising early-stage businesses.
Smith said: “The North has no equivalent of the successful angel groups in Edinburgh or Cambridge and, with the venture capital industry largely focused on London, there is a funding gap for early-stage tech companies in the North.
“However we do have plenty of successful entrepreneurs, some of whom have been through the entire growth cycle of building and selling a business, and are willing to invest time and money in helping others.
“Dow Schofield Watts Angels will bring together entrepreneurs with fledgling businesses in need of funding and support.
“We aim to build a strong angel network that will be instrumental in driving the growth of the North’s technology sector.”
Membership is open to new and existing angel investors, and requires no commitment or fees.
A committee of members will help to select investment opportunities which are circulated among the network, with most of them likely to qualify for EIS tax relief.
Initially the network will invest up to £500k in each business. Dow Schofield Watts Angels will also look to co-invest with other funders where appropriate.