aql Chief Exec announces launch of “NorthInvest”
Over the past half-decade, Leeds has earned the position at the digital centre of the Northern Powerhouse. aql’s founder, Dr Adam Beaumont, is better known for the work he’s done to help support the growth of digital infrastructure in the Region – building datacentres and co-founding and supporting the Northern Internet exchange – IXLeeds – which is the only Internet Exchange of its kind outside of London.
The Internet exchange has increased the density of network operators in the region and also driven competition – meaning that Leeds City Region is the ideal out-of-London location to support high-growth businesses with a demand for high-capacity global connectivity.
Dr Adam Beaumont comments “We’re proud that we’ve created a resilient digital infrastructure for Leeds and providing an attractive proposition for businesses to relocate, start or grow within the Region. We’ve now widened our focus to look at how these businesses gain access to all-important funding”.
He continues “As a business angel and an ex-member of the regional association, I’ve experienced first-hand the difficulties both startups and growing businesses endure in finding the right mentors and investors.
Based on our success with the creation and governance of IXLeeds; as a mutual, not for profit organization, I wanted to create a platform with a transparent agenda, which allowed a company, or someone with a great idea, to find the right help. By creating a Mutual company, all investors must subscribe to it’s Charter – which helps align investors with the interests of the Northern Cities.”.
Northinvest, “soft-launched” last Friday at the Leeds Digital Summit and brings together, businesses and ideas seeking funding, with angels, mentors and also service companies.
NorthInvest was created to address funding pathways within the Region, but as it’s name suggests, it’s focus extends to the entire Northern Powerhouse. The next steps for the organization are to bring on board supporting companies (of which several have already pledged support), which will keep the platform free for companies seeking investment. A nominal membership fee will be charged to angels.
Most importantly – the platform is also joining up with growing voice across the North to pursue a Pan-Northern public-private co-investment fund, allowing angel money to be “topped up” by a public fund co-investment in a seamless manner. Adam comments “We have some challenges in terms of how to streamline this process, but we look forward to announcing the result.”.
With early support from the LEP, Leeds City Council, KPMG and the UK Business Angels Association, a steady stream of angels are starting to board the platform. Interested angels and mentors can make contact via the website.