Innovation Fund

Funding for early-stage businesses with innovative, scalable ideas – from software to life science, start-up to scale-up.


  • For Early Stage, Innovative Companies
  • For Companies With High Growth Potential
  • Supporting New Products, Services & Business Models
  • Special interests in Digital Technologies, Life Sciences, Clean Energy and Manufacturing

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The Innovation Fund is managed by Northstar Ventures which has been investing in technology focused businesses in the North East since 2004. The fund can invest in companies at their earliest stages of development, to help establish the viability of a new product or service. It can also invest in more established, revenue-generating businesses which intend to significantly scale-up their operations. Initial investments are typically between £50,000 and £500,000.

As its name suggests, the Innovation Fund has been set up to invest in companies which are doing something new or different. That could be the development of a new app or innovations in other digital technologies such as the internet of things or virtual and augmented reality products. Northstar has a long track record of working alongside, and investing in companies participating in, digital accelerator programmes like Ignite. Companies in the digital space which the Innovation Fund has invested in to date include cloud intranet provider Oak Engage, football kit price comparison platform Footy.Com and Software as a Services (SAAS) social media customer feedback analysis tool Wordnerds.

Northstar has also developed strong working relationships with the region’s universities, which has seen the Innovation Fund invest in life sciences projects like Newcells Biotech and AMLo Biosciences as well as electric motor pioneer, Advanced Electric Machines. The Innovation Fund has wide-ranging remit to support businesses which help provide solutions to today’s challenges such as the transition to a low carbon economy. As well as supporting the electric vehicle sector, this has seen investment in Low Carbon Materials, which is helping the construction sector build a net zero world using award-winning carbon negative and carbon zero materials.

Most Innovation Fund investments are in equity (shares in your company), which means that there is no loan to repay – allowing time for the cash invested to be put to use in growing your business.

Northstar works with investees to try to help grow the business, with a view to achieving a return on the cash invested by the Innovation Fund either when the company secures further investment, is sold or the shares are bought-back by the company or its founders. Telesales teams analysis software business Refract received Innovation Fund backing and was subsequently bought by US company Allego which continues to grow the North East operation.

Founder Kevin Beales says: “Without access to regional funds and Northstar’s expertise, we would not have been able to grow the business in Newcastle to the same extent and be acquired by a fast-growing US company.”

The investment process


Share your business plan with Northstar, detailing your company’s management team, its product and market, future plans, current and forecast financial information and funding required.


Northstar will meet with you to find out more about your business and plans and to reach agreement in principle with you on the terms for investment.


Northstar will undertake due diligence on your company and the information you provide to verify it and confirm that investment is appropriate. Investment funds are provided following signature of legal agreements.

Interested in applying?

Check your company’s eligibility and suitability by phone or email with North East Fund or Northstar Ventures. Discuss your product, future plans and funding requirements. Check whether you should prepare and submit an application for investment.

Contact Northstar Ventures:

T: 01912292770


Useful links


5th floor
West One
Forth Banks
Newcastle upon Tyne

Contact details


T: 0191 211 2300


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