Venture capitalist Par Equity has launched an investor network in North East to target tech firms across the region.
The North East group is chaired by Derek Bulmer, CFO of Tekmar Group and former CFO of Kromek Group, and will seek new investors to invest in early-stage disruptive technology companies from Newcastle, Teesside and the surrounding area.
The Par Equity North-East network is supported by an extensive team of executive search, legal and financial advisors who will join Mr Bulmer as the eyes and ears of the initiative, spotting potential investors who can join, highlighting early-stage opportunities, and undertaking due diligence on potential investments.
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Mr Bulmer, who has more than 30 years experience in finance, legal and tech, helped to lead on the investment to steer Kromek to becoming an AIM-listed company, and he said there is a gap in the market for Par Equity to fill.
He said: “The North East of England is close to my heart and is an industrious and creative region with excellent start-ups, however, there is little in the way of capital investment.
“There is a real gap in the market for a VC like Par to fuel the growth of young SMEs, not only with financial investment but by working collaboratively with them, connecting them, and providing the experience of our investors to help them succeed.
“Becoming part of the Par network is an excellent opportunity for investors in the area, as it exposes us to a wide variety of investment options, and fellow investors, here in North-East and also further afield.”
Jason Hobbs, chief executive of the North East Fund said: “Par Equity will be a welcome addition to the North East ecosystem, and I am delighted that Derek will be chairing the regional network.
“It is always pleasing to hear of new sources of private finance coming into the region, and we at The North East Fund look forward to working with Par Equity wherever possible to increase the availability of investment capital to North East based companies.”
Although anchored in Scotland, Par Equity already has a track record south of the border and has identified the North East as a growth opportunity.
In 2017 it invested in Nova Pangaea Technologies on Teesside, which is now showing significant commercial progress and Par will soon conclude further investment in the firm.
To date, the firm has invested more than £95m in 63 companies, with investor returns across the 22 realisations, providing an investment return multiple of 3.4x and an impressive 25% internal rate of return (IRR).
Paul Atkinson, partner at Par Equity, added: “We see huge potential in the North East market for investors to be part of some of the UK’s most exciting innovative firms. At Par we are hands-on investors, providing experience and knowledge, as well as financial support. We are looking forward to discovering more opportunities among young companies in the area, and connecting them with our network of investors.”