Northern Gritstone raises £215 million for university spinouts

The firm will invest capital in intellectual property developed by the Universities of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield

Northern Gritstone, the north of England university spinout investment firm, has secured “close to £215 million”, less than a year after the firm’s launch.

The Universities of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield announced the specialist spinout investment firm in April 2021, part of a plan to launch more businesses based on their intellectual property.

This cross-Pennine trio has a combined research income of more than £650 million per annum and accounts for one in 11 patents and one in five IP licenses filed by UK universities.

The company, which opened in July and is chaired by Jim O’Neill and led by Duncan Johnson, said it expects to “begin deploying capital… over the coming weeks”.

Among the investors are Northern LGPS – an asset manager for three local government pension schemes – M&G and Lansdowne Partners. Northern Gritstone said it had attracted financial backing from “high-net-worth individuals”, institutional investors, and real estate investors “active in the tech and science ecosystem”.

The firm eventually aims to raise £500m overall.

Said Lord O’Neill: “The strong endorsement of Northern Gritstone we’ve seen from investors is testament to the huge scale of the opportunity in northern England’s world-class science and innovation hubs and the spinouts they are producing. By investing in Northern Gritstone, asset managers are directly buying into the brightest prospects for Britain’s future economy.

“Today marks a significant milestone as Northern Gritstone continues to build its investor base allowing the company to deliver its philosophy of Profit with Purpose which underpins all we seek to do.”

Read more: Northern Gritstone announces leadership team

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