A venture capital firm has signed a partnership deal with the University of Manchester to identify and back early-stage companies with the potential to become the technology stars of the future.
Campus Capital will invest sums from £50,000 to £200,000 into promising businesses both on campus and off campus across the Manchester city region. The model, which is based on successful US funds such as the Dorm Room Fund and the Wolverine Venture Fund, aims to give investors direct access to knowledge, opportunities and contacts from within the university.
Campus Capital has been launched by serial entrepreneurs Michael Howe and Samantha Deakin Hill and is endorsed by Tech North, whose former head Claire Braithwaite is among the advisory board members, along with Tim Dempsey of Epiphany Capital and Rupert Wingate-Saul of AXM Venture Capital.
Howe said: “Universities are at the heart of the knowledge economy – through their research and development, their role in educating future entrepreneurs and their close links with current business leaders. It makes sense for venture funds to work more closely with them.
“Campus Capital will allow investors to plug directly into these knowledge hubs, making use of their networks and engaging students in building the deals pipeline. It will also provide a new source of funding for high-growth Manchester businesses, whether on or off campus.
“Our aim is to identify early-stage companies with the potential to become the technology stars of the future.”
The deal with the University of Manchester comes just before Campus Capital starts raising its first £2m fund.
In December 2016, Campus Capital signed its initial partnership deal with the University of Sheffield. It is also in talks with other universities about rolling out the model nationwide.
Dempsey added: “This is a really new exciting model of venture capital that we have not yet seen properly executed in the UK. Manchester and Sheffield are perfect launch partners, and Campus Capital has the ability to affect a real change in the way these ecosystems work, as well as investing in serious talent.”
Lynn Sheppard, director of the Manchester Enterprise Centre, said: “The University of Manchester has a long tradition of supporting innovation.
“We are delighted to be working with Campus Capital to help pioneer this new model, which will provide further opportunities for students to build experience. It will allow them to gain insight into the issues facing technology start-ups, understand the perspective of both entrepreneurs and funders, and many of the factors required to create a successful, high-growth business.”