Mercia increases investment in Yorkshire

Mark Payton, chief executive of Mercia Technologies.
Mark Payton, chief executive of Mercia Technologies.
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Investment group Mercia invested £15.7m in Yorkshire businesses in 2018, up from £14m the previous year, as it looks to establish itself as a key source of funding for regional small businesses.

Mercia invested in 57 companies in Yorkshire over the course of the year, including Leeds University spin-out SatSense, Hull-based wearable technology firm Moodbeam and video advertising firm Ash TV.

The group, which manages part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, employs 18 staff in the region and has offices in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.

Mark Payton, chief executive of Mercia Technologies plc, said: “Regional cities such as Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh are increasingly important technology hubs, however venture capital remains heavily focused on London.

“Mercia has offices in all of these locations and as these latest figures show, it is addressing this shortfall by sourcing and backing exceptional businesses across the UK’s regions. Building on a successful 2018, I expect Mercia to continue to scale its activities into 2019.”

Mercia is one of the top four investors in university spin-out businesses and one of the UK’s most active venture capitalists focused on innovation, according to recent reports from start-up database Beauhurst.

During the year Mercia increased its third party funds under management from £350m to over £400m at December 31.

Growing by around 30 per cent a year, Mercia now has over 80 employees in eight locations nationwide and partnerships with 19 regional universities including York and Sheffield Hallam.

Recently Sheffield-based Cobra Sport, which manufactures high-performance vehicle exhausts, expanded across the Pennines with the support of a six-figure loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

It acquired the assets of JP Exhausts in Macclesfield, securing 16 jobs in the process.

Since its IPO in December 2014, Mercia Technologies, listed on AIM, has invested over £69m across its direct investment portfolio.