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Par Equity secures £67M in first fund close to back Northern UK startups

Par Equity team
Picture credits: Par Equity

Edinburgh-based VC firm Par Equity has announced the launch of its new venture fund, Par Equity Ventures I LP. It has secured a first close of £67 million as a part of this fund with a target size of £100 million. 

Notably, Greater London continues to make up the majority of total VC investment in the UK, which is concentrated within the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, London, and Cambridge. The Par Equity Ventures I LP intends to bridge the gap between VC funding between the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and London. 

Utilisation of funds 

The funds will be used to boost innovative technology companies with high-growth potential in the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Par Equity will continue raising capital to close out the full target fund size. 

Par Equity was backed by the Scottish National Investment Bank and British Business Investments with further support from the Strathclyde Pension Fund. It will add further resources and capabilities to its venture programme, accelerating some of the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland’s most promising tech scale-ups. Also, the VC firm will strengthen the talent pools in these regions.  

The fund will be managed from Par Equity’s Edinburgh office as well as its recently launched Leeds base. It will be used to lead or support Series A funding rounds. 

Hybrid investment approach

Launched in 2008 by Paul Munn, Robert Higginson, Paul Atkinson, and Andrew Castell, Par Equity has invested over £160 million into 77 early-stage technology companies to date, with 30 realisations, including Edinburgh-based Current Health, which was Europe’s second-largest digital health exit ever following its sale to Best Buy. 

Certified B-Corp, Par Equity, partners with early-stage companies, operating B2B business models and with strong IP. Mostly, these companies innovate in the fields of health tech, climate tech and industrial tech, often driven by new technologies such as robotics, photonics, advanced materials and AI. 

Par Equity’s investment model combines its discretionary managed funds with the experience of its engaged pool of sophisticated angel investors. This hybrid investment approach is drawing attention from the industry. 

On the fund’s launch, Paul Munn, Managing Partner at Par Equity said: “Accelerating innovation and talent in this part of the UK is an absolute priority for us and we believe that this fund can be a positive catalyst for the local tech ecosystem. Not only are we uniquely delivering capital to scaleups in the region, but we hope this fund will trigger a mindset shift to encourage and enable our very best and brightest companies to shine on the world stage.”

Andrew Noble, Partner at Par Equity, who led the fund’s launch, added: “People often forget that the North of the UK is a big market in its own right. Worth around $1 trillion GDP, it would be the eighth largest economy in Europe but is still largely overlooked by investors. We are surrounded by incredible innovation in this part of the UK, and we must now turn these fledgling start-ups into global category leaders.  We look forward to working with these companies to unlock those ambitions.

Judith Hartley, CEO, British Business Investments, said: “The Regional Angels Programme plays a vital role in developing the early-stage funding ecosystem across the UK Nations and regions. Par Equity was one of the first delivery partners of the programme, and we are really pleased to continue our support for them, through Par Equity Ventures I LP, targeting Series A follow-on commitments for smaller businesses across the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.”

Jimmy Williamson, Executive Director at Scottish National Investment Bank said: “The Bank’s cornerstone investment will enable significant access to crucial scale-up funding to drive growth in the Scottish tech sector, delivering real impact by catalysing innovation and supporting the critical development of the locally-based venture capital industry.”

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