November 2, 2023

Most active UK investors outside of London, Cambridge and Oxford

Sifted digs into the data to find out which non-Golden Triangle-based funds have backed the most startups in 2023

It isn’t likely to shock many in the world of UK tech that, when it comes to funding, there's London, Oxford and Cambridge and there’s… everywhere else. 

In 2021 and 2022, startups in those three cities raised $55.8bn from VCs, according to Dealroom — three times the amount picked up across the rest of the country combined.

And while there’s little chance the UK funding landscape will level out anytime soon, there are signs a number of investors are cottoning on to opportunities elsewhere.


In October this year, VC Par Equity announced a £67m close of a target £100m fund to back startups in northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and in June, British Business Bank announced it was opening bids from fund managers for a new £660m fund for SMEs in the North of England. 

But which investors based outside of the Golden Triangle have backed the most early-stage startups (pre-seed to Series A) so far in 2023? 

To find out, Sifted dug into data from Dealroom — and confirmed the numbers with the most active. 

If you think an investor is missing from this list, email

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is a government agency that invests alongside private lead investors, who pitch it deals. It has written £12m worth of cheques for startups so far in 2023, across sectors like health, energy, SaaS and food.

HQ: Glasgow

Fund focus: Generalist

Deals in 2023: 97 (confirmed)

Mercia Ventures

Mercia Ventures primarily backs startups at seed and Series A. It writes first-time cheques between £750k and £5m and has backed the likes of fruit and veg delivery company Oddbox, AI-driven fact-checking and misinformation startup Logically and drug discovery startup Turbine AI.

HQ: Henley-In-Arden, Warwickshire

Fund focus: Healthtech, SaaS, marketing and energy

Deals in 2023: 73 (confirmed)


80% of Haatch’s investments in 2023 have been outside of London. It invests from a pre-seed fund and a seed fund — which backs companies with at least £10k monthly recurring revenue.

HQ: Stamford, Lincolnshire

Fund focus: B2B SaaS

Deals in 2023: 27 (confirmed)

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S)

Since launching in 2002, UKI2S has invested £30m in over 90 companies, from pre-seed to Series A. The fund is managed by London-based impact investor Future Planet Capital. The fund is backed by UK Research and Innovation, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and other public bodies.

HQ: Birmingham

Fund focus: Biotech, defence and fusion

Deals in 2023: 27 (confirmed)

Development Bank of Wales

The Development Bank of Wales is a government-backed investor, and has written cheques to the tune of £7.2m so far this year. It specialises in early-stage deals and also supports investment via the Wales Angel Co-investment Fund — which matches business angel syndicates investing in Welsh businesses.

HQ: Cardiff

Fund focus: Generalist

Deals in 2023: 26 (confirmed)

Blackfinch Ventures

Launched in 2018, Blackfinch is looking to back startups in a range of sectors, including: AI, edtech, fintech, HR tech, marketing tech, property tech and SaaS. It has £69.8m assets under management.

HQ: Gloucester

Fund focus: Generalist

Deals in 2023: 19 (confirmed)

Par Equity

Par Equity focuses exclusively on backing startups in the north of the UK. With its latest fund it will write cheques between £5m-20m in Series A rounds, and LPs include Scottish National Investment Bank, British Business Investments and the Strathclyde Pension Fund. Through its EIS and Venture Fund activity, it also invests from £500k as part of £1m+ rounds. 

HQ: Edinburgh

Fund focus: Healthtech, climate tech and industrial tech 

Deals in 2023: 19 (confirmed)


Praetura is an early-stage VC, investing predominantly in the north of England — where two-thirds of its portfolio is based — and writes tickets of £1-3m. It counts companies like data analytics scaleup Peak, grocery delivery startup Modern Milkman and healthcare worker staffing platform Patchwork Health among its portfolio.


HQ: Manchester

Fund focus: Saas, fintech and healthtech

Deals in 2023: 15 (confirmed)

Northern Gritstone

Northern Gritstone was set up by the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield in 2020, and backs spinout startups. Earlier this week it announced the final close of a £312m fund backed by a number of pension funds in the north of England.

HQ: Manchester

Fund focus: Spinouts 

Deals in 2023: 10 (confirmed)

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF)

NPIF is a British Business Bank-backed fund focusing on investment into the North of England. It provides finance through micro finance, debt and equity finance funds. NPIF could not be reached to confirm data.

HQ: Sheffield

Fund focus: Generalist

Deals in 2023: 10 (Dealroom)

Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)

MEIF is another British Business Bank-backed fund, covering the whole of the UK Midlands. It provides finance through small business loans, debt and equity. MEIF could not be reached to confirm data.

HQ: Sheffield

Fund focus: Generalist

Deals in 2023: 8 (Dealroom)

Kai Nicol-Schwarz

Kai Nicol-Schwarz is a reporter at Sifted. He covers UK tech and healthtech, and can be found on X and LinkedIn