Sure Valley Ventures, the founder-led Venture Capital firm is pleased to announce that it has established a presence in the North of England with the appointments of Mel Ellyard (pictured) and George Mensah who are based in Leeds and Manchester respectively. Sure Valley Ventures is securing offices in each location which are due to open in the coming months.

By establishing a local presence, the firm aims to deliver on its goal to challenge regional disparities across the UK and to access opportunities to invest in the significant and exciting innovation clusters that have developed around creative technologies in the North of England and in the Metaverse and AI opportunities in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. The Company will be launching in Leeds with an event at Nexus on Thursday 14 July.

This expansion follows the recent announcement of the £95m UK software technology fund, which included a £50m investment from the British Business Bank through its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, which aims to increase the supply of equity capital to high-potential, early-stage UK companies.

Mel has a significant network spanning key Northern ecosystems including Yorkshire, Humber, Tees Valley, North East and Greater Manchester. Prior to joining Sure Valley Ventures, Mel worked with the British Business Bank supporting UK Network & Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

George has nearly a decade of experience in the capital markets focusing predominantly on high growth companies. Prior to Sure Valley Ventures, he was an Investment Manager at ACF Investors, an early-stage VC which co-invests alongside domain expert-led syndicates of angel investors.

Managing partner and co-founder, Barry Downes, said, “We are delighted to mark our expansion into the North of England with the appointment of two experienced principals in Mel and George. We are focused on challenging the regional disparities across the UK in terms of availability of start-up funding and their extensive network across the tech communities in this fast-growing tech region, make them the ideal candidates to execute on this mission. We welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them.”

Mel said, “I am excited to champion investment into the rapidly growing northern tech scene with this new role and very much look forward to working with ambitious founders in the AI/ML, immersive technologies, gaming, eSports, IoT and cybersecurity spaces.

George added, “Manchester is increasingly becoming a hub for exciting, disruptive and high-growth tech businesses. Despite this, these talented founders are underserved by VC investors so I can’t wait bring new opportunities to SVV in the coming months.

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive at Leeds City Council, said, “Risk finance is a vital part of the economy and a significant engine for job creation and innovation. It plays a critical role in the investment chain by backing the next generation of business leaders and funding innovation to advance technological solutions that may help solve some of society’s greatest issues. New sources of funding are vital in the North, and we warmly welcome Sure Valley Ventures to Leeds.”