Lancaster University has signed a partnership with venture capital firm Campus Capital to bring investment to the region and further strengthen Lancashire’s startup ecosystem.
Campus Capital will invest between £50k-200k in early-stage, high-growth potential companies, both on and off campus. All companies within the Lancashire region will be eligible to pitch, not just those run by students, graduates and staff.
Michael Howe, founding partner of Campus Capital, says the firm has always had an external focus, receiving the majority of pitches from companies that have no link to their partner universities.
He said: “There are a lot of investable companies already out there in the region so this isn’t about helping to create new startups. Our focus is on making sure these existing startups, who are already doing great things, get the investment they need to scale. Our connection with world-renowned universities such as Lancaster makes us particularly well-placed to support companies within the science and technology sectors.”
The on-campus element of Campus Capital is an experiential learning programme that involves teams of Student Venture Capitalists part-running some of the early aspects of the fund pipeline. Once trained, these Student Venture Capitalists make many of the early investment decisions and gain valuable experience in assessing and analysing a company’s investment-readiness. They receive ongoing mentoring from Campus Capital’s partners and their wider support network of seasoned investors.
Lancaster University is the third Higher Education Institution to partner with Campus Capital in just under a year. Lancaster University has a strong focus on enterprise and innovation and has recently been named University of the Year 2018 by The Times and Sunday Times. The Enterprise Team has been supporting student and graduate start-ups since 2009 including award winning Kaizen Academy, a Mixed Martial Arts training facility.
Jon Powell, head of Enterprise and Innovation Services at Lancaster University, said: “We are delighted to join forces with Campus Capital and build on our fantastic links with regional businesses by bringing much needed investment into the Lancashire economy. Lancaster University has a pivotal role to play in supporting innovation. We want to develop employable graduates and the graduate employers of tomorrow as well as supporting businesses through consultancy, joint research and co-location. Now we can support direct investment into those businesses with growth potential.”
Investment in the north of England tech sector has increased over the last 10 years, with the most significant growth happening in the last three years, according to an Investment Index report from Tech North. Last year £201.2m was invested in the north, which represents a rise of 916% from £19.8m in 2007.
This new partnership should shine even more of a spotlight on the entrepreneurial activity taking place in Lancashire, and increase opportunities for those companies to collaborate with the university, and stay and grow in the region.
Campus Capital will open to Lancashire-based startups in the New Year, although companies which are considering fundraising within the next six months are encouraged to get in touch sooner.