Baltic Ventures offers Liverpool tech firms a global spotlight

10th May 2023

Source: LBN News

Based in Liverpool, £4.1m Baltic Ventures aims to bring global investment to the city’s tech sector – CEO Claire Lewis tells the Baltic Triangle Podcast the new accelerator could be truly transformational.

Claire Lewis, chief executive of Baltic Ventures in Liverpool

Claire Lewis, chief executive of Baltic Ventures in Liverpool

Investors across the globe are ready and willing to invest billions into early-stage tech companies in the UK – but too few are looking beyond London.

Now a new business accelerator programme aims to put Liverpool on the international digital map and grab a slice of the pie. 

First unveiled in March, Baltic Ventures is backed with £4.1m from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Successful applicants to the first cohort starting this year will receive equity backing of £50,000 and access to expert mentoring.

In an interview with the Baltic Triangle Podcast, Baltic Ventures chief executive Claire Lewis explains how the initiative came about and the potential to turn Liverpool into a digital powerhouse.

It occupies a ground floor studio space in Baltic Creative’s Digital House. Partners in Baltic Ventures are Baltic Creative CIC, Mark Rathbone of Liverpool law firm Brabners and Form and LivingLens co-founders, Carl Wong and David Woods.

The aim of the not-for-profit initiative is to create a platform to support northern tech businesses to access angel and VC investment without needing to head to London.

In 2022, Beauhurst found that 50% of announced equity deals and 69% of investment was deployed in London-based tech companies. In contrast, the North West secured only 6%. Claire Lewis, chief executive of Baltic Ventures in Liverpool, said:

“We can take the tech sector in the city onto the next level. We are looking for great founders who are ambitious about growing a scaled tech company that has tech and IP with big market potential.

“We are also looking to work with diverse teams. That is companies that might not necessarily identify with the classic tech start-up image might think of applying.”

Claire explained how the idea for Baltic Ventures had been three or four years in the making and involved multiple people. In particular she referenced Mark Lawler and Erika Rushton who had been instrumental in the transformation of the Baltic Triangle and Baltic Creative.

She added that Carl and David from Living Lens had themselves built up a tech business after taking part in an accelerator programme in London. They had sold that business for $26m and were keen to open up that same opportunity for Liverpool tech firms.

Critical to establishing Baltic Ventures was securing five years of funding from the Combined Authority. Claire said: “The stars aligned – the right people were having the right conversations… the Mayor liked our proposition. It was a coalition of the willing.”

Each successful company joining the programme will receive an initial £50,000 in equity backing, alongside a tailored four-month programme. This includes mentoring, masterclasses and networking with investors who may provide follow-on funding.

Claire said the accelerator was open to companies from elsewhere in the UK but that they would have to come and establish a base here in the Liverpool city region.

“It is about opening up the Liverpool tech ecosystem to interested global investors and mentors and really building a community here,” she added.

“We can take the tech sector in the city to the next level… the investors are there. London is a global leader but what about the rest of the country? This is an opportunity for us to tap into that.”

This month’s Baltic Triangle Podcast also spoke to Miles Pearson from Baltic-based property specialists Next Big Thing. He talked about the latest trends in the city in property development and architecture.

Click here to listen to the Baltic Triangle podcast

For more on Liverpool’s creative district, The Baltic Traingle, click HERE.

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