We are delighted to announce that we have invested in B-North, a Manchester-based firm building a regional SME lending bank for the UK, alongside Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The GMCA had previously invested in the firm’s ‘Seed’ funding round.
These investments make up part of B-North’s over-subscribed £2.7m ‘Bridge’ funding round. B-North has now raised more than £9m since launching and is closing in on its £20m ‘Series A’ fundraise which will enable B-North to secure its banking licence.
B-North is establishing a UK-wide network of ‘lending Pods’ to provide finance dynamically to regional SME businesses that are often poorly served by traditional lenders. The first of B-North’s pods is expected to open in Manchester in 2021.
Our investment in B-North will allow them to build significant awareness of its new proposition amongst retail customers once B-North has received its banking licence.
Jonathan Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO of B-North said: “I am delighted that GMCA continues to support B-North and we look forward to working with them to drive forward the regional economy.
“And I am thrilled that Channel 4 Ventures have also invested in B-North. There is a tremendous strategic fit between our two businesses and the investment is a humbling vote of confidence.”
Councillor David Molyneux, GMCA Lead for Investment and Resources, said: “As Greater Manchester’s economy recovers it is vital our SMEs are supported with access to finance. It’s often these businesses that are overlooked by traditional lenders, but they will be essential to help with the revival of our city-region’s economy.
"This additional GMCA investment will support B-North as it seeks authorisation to launch a bank headquartered in Greater Manchester and improve access to finance in the region. The provision of quick and efficient finance to SME’s will be much needed if we’re to fulfil our post-Covid recovery ambitions and that is why the GMCA is pleased to invest in B-North.”
Vinay Solanki, Head of Channel 4 Ventures said: “We have been seriously impressed by the management team of B-North and are really looking forward to helping them raise awareness to our upmarket and affluent audiences when they fully launch their consumer offering. Moreover, we hope to be a long-term investment partner for B-North, as it is a business that is deeply aligned with our own mission as a public service broadcaster that plays an important role in the UK SME ecosystem.”