Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Go for Growth, Not Early Sale' TECH

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Go for Growth, Not Early Sale' TECH

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT GIBSON robert.gibson@ncjmedia.co.uk

NORTH East digital firms must adopt a similar attitude to those in Silicon Valley if the sector is to reach its full potential, an analyst at one of Europe's largest tech investment banks has said.

GP Bullhound manages three separate funds, offers strategic advice in business deals and partners with companies undergoing mergers and acquisitions.

The organisation, which is heavily involved in the North East digital sector with offices in Manchester and London as well as overseas, has also developed a reputation as a thought leader in the industry, producing around six pieces of research every year. This includes an annual report on upcoming tech trends as well the influential European Unicorns report, which analyses what it takes to create a PS1bn company.

Luke Burns, who is based at GP Bullhound's Manchester office, said: "We're really excited about the North. We have found there are some fantastic businesses there and we do not want those companies to sell to the US too early.

"In Europe, growing businesses can sometimes see a PS20-PS30m cheque and take it - only to see the company grow into a PS1bn business.

"We want to see more Unicorns in the North, but to do that we need businesses to be less risk averse.

"They need to stick to their guns and own the business for longer - more like in Silicon Valley."

Mr Burns added that a direct flight to Silicon Valley would also help put the North on the map as "a real tech hub in Europe".

"It would see more people coming over here to talk at events and to invest," he said.

"It would provide that accessibility.

It can be too easy for investors to remain in London and not be attracted to the North."

GP Bullhound, which has produced a Northern Tech Map highlighting the diversity of firms driving innovation in region, estimates there are least 200 tech companies in the North East. …

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