Yorkshire tech start-ups struggling to attract capital
A key figure for tech funding has said Yorkshire start-ups have great difficulty in attracting capital.
Charles Shepherd, a relationship director for Barclays Corporate, told a BusinessCloud roundtable that the scene is different to that found in the South of England.
Shepherd has responsibility for funding technology, media and telecoms companies in the region through traditional bank loans or via Barclays’ venture debt offering.
“Leeds and Yorkshire has different dynamics to what you see elsewhere in the country when it comes to access to capital and funding for start-ups,” he said.
“In Cambridge, for example, if you have an idea for a start-up, there’s probably a list of 10 people you can take it to and try to attract equity funding.
“In Yorkshire access to people such as this is quite fragmented.”
Tech start-ups can almost be run anywhere if there is a decent internet connection, a fact that has seen clusters springing up across the UK.
The relatively cheap cost of premises and labour compared with London and the South means the North stands to especially benefit from this.
“Barclays took the decision a few years ago to focus on tech in the North because we see it as a high-growth area,” he continued.
“In London you have industry specialisms, where critical mass is needed to justify that [situation].
“As you move north, you tend to see sectors streamlined: retail and wholesale, manufacturing and property.”
BusinessCloud sees tech as underpinning the Northern Powerhouse and held an evening event on the subject at the International Festival for Business in Liverpool.
Speakers included Andy Burton, CTO of Leeds unicorn Sky Betting and Gaming, Ged Fitzgerald, chief executive of Liverpool City Council, and Jon Corner, chief executive at The Landing at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays.
The full story of BusinessCloud's fact-finding mission to Leeds can be followed below.