06 Aug 2020

WBD has advised on the creation of Northern Accelerator's Seed Investment Fund. Northern Accelerator is an innovative collaboration between four universities in the North East of England and the seed investment fund, managed by Northstar Ventures, will back spin-out businesses in the region.

A multi-disciplinary WBD team, led by partner Barry Stimpson, provided key funds expertise on the project.

Northern Accelerator brings together Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities to deliver a step-change in the translation of world-class research into sustainable commercial enterprises. Backed by funding from Research England's Connecting Capabilities Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, Northern Accelerator brings together academics and business leaders to commercialise research and support local and national economic growth.

To date, Northern Accelerator has helped create 28 businesses in the region, with spin-outs, such as Atelerix and Magnitude Biosciences, securing significant funding to expand their businesses and operations in international markets.

Northstar Ventures will manage the £1.7million seed capital investment fund, providing early-stage investment for the high-potential businesses created through Northern Accelerator's commercialisation processes. It will also embark on the creation of a larger venture capital based Northern Universities Fund.

Barry Stimpson commented:

"We're delighted to have advised on this exciting new fund, which will foster a pipeline of investment opportunities and create a vibrant community of Northern Accelerator businesses. Our funds expertise, understanding of the local market and strong track record advising in the education sector meant that we were able to secure the best possible outcome for our client."

Ben Butler, corporate partner at WBD's Newcastle office, added:

"WBD is thrilled to have been involved in this truly innovative collaboration between the region's universities and Northstar Ventures, which will strengthen the North East's position as a hub of innovation and boost the economic recovery of the region."

Ranking in the UK's top 20, WBD is a transatlantic law firm providing legal expertise from across eight offices in the UK and 19 offices in the US. With deep roots in the North East and its largest UK office based in Newcastle, WBD is committed to playing its part in the rejuvenation of the North East by using its international and national reach and expertise to benefit the region. The firm is also a member of the Government's Northern Powerhouse Partnership Programme, demonstrating its commitment to promoting the strengths of the North and supporting the Northern economy and Northern Powerhouse initiative.