Why do you think it’s important to have a tech accelerator here?
Carl Wong, co-founder of LivingLens and Baltic Ventures, often discusses how he and his co-founder David Woods had to travel to London to join an Accelerator – one that changed the trajectory of their business and opened their eyes to a new world of investment and opportunity.
We have so much talent here, but all too often that tech talent has had to go to London or beyond to scale their business. We want to change that by supporting founders to start here and scale here.
Liverpool is an incredible city – did you see the Eurovision party we threw?! – and an ideal base for founders who want to start and scale companies. That's why the Accelerator is open to companies from anywhere in the world – because Liverpool is a city that will support them, and their companies, to thrive.
What do you think are the current challenges and opportunities for the tech sector in the region?
Recent research by Beauhurst and Praetura shows that Northern founders are more concerned with access to funding than any other region. In 2022, over 50% of equity deals were secured by London founders and more than 69% of money deployed went to London – the North West received less than 6%. Coupled with investment slowing over the last 12 months as a result of broader economic trends, you can see why it’s a major concern for founders in Liverpool and beyond.
But despite this, Northern cities are emerging as thriving tech hubs that investors want to back. Last year, Manchester-based tech companies raised a record £532m in funding, surpassing the likes of Rome, Warsaw, and Lisbon.
In Liverpool – not only is it one of the best places to live in the UK, we also have an amazing pool of talent, world renowned universities, a supportive public sector and an absolutely incredible creative and digital sector. It equals a fantastic place for tech companies to find, and carve out, opportunities for success.
What impact do you think the accelerator will have in the long term?
The accelerator has the potential to be part of something transformational. At our launch event, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram discussed creating the ‘Silicon Valley of the North’, it’s a massive ambition, and one that the Accelerator programme would just be one part of, but with the right investment and support we can unleash the potential of the amazing creative and digital founders in the city and beyond.
Globally, and locally, we’re facing some pretty significant challenges, and tech can help us provide the solutions. We’re committed to supporting founders who can balance people, planet and profit and build the businesses, and solutions of tomorrow. By having transformative companies that grow (and stay) in the city region we have a real opportunity to create a sustainable, high growth economy here.
You’ve got some exciting events coming up, what should people look out for?
June 7 is our final discovery session, where people can pop into the Baltic Ventures offices in Digital House to find out more about Accelerator 2023.
We’ll also be hosting a 2-day founders weekend in partnership with OneTech in early July. It will be a full immersion in the fundamentals of starting and scaling a business and we’re particularly looking to support people from black, asian, and ethnic minority communities, and/or those who identify as female, as LGBTQI+, or as with a disability.
We’re always looking for new people to partner with on events as well – so if that’s you, please do get in touch!