North West is unicorn hub

A study by Pareto Law has found the North West of England a business hotspot for unicorns.

Unicorns are high-growth start-ups, valued at £1bn or more. Of the 14 UK unicorns, 2 were founded in the North West and a further 3 have expanded to the region. This makes the North West the UK hub for unicorns outside of London.

One of the unicorns founded in the North West is the winner of the 2017 Northern Tech Award and highest valued UK unicorn, The Hut Group.

Pareto Law credits the region’s readily available funding and talent for its appeal. Manchester tech firms attracted more than £200m in funding in 2018, while The North West Fund has supported more than 440 business with over £150m of investment. Meanwhile, the 2018 ‘State of the City’ report for Manchester states that 40% of inhabitants are qualified for degree level, with 36% of graduates returning to Manchester to work after university. The report also forecasts that the city’s digital scene will grow by over 25% by 2025.

Jonathan Fitchew, CEO of Pareto Law, commented: “This study affirms that the North is a powerhouse of talent. Ambitious businesses locate where they can be assured of a rich talent pool. The North’s thriving tech scene in particular is a magnet for the very best talent at all levels. It’s one of the key reasons Manchester retains a staggering 69% of its own graduates, many of whom go on to build successful careers in the region.

Having built our own business on the power of talent, and as a judge at the Northern Tech awards, I am continually inspired by the calibre of businesses, leaders and entrepreneurs the region has to offer.”

London is home to 9 unicorn offices, while the North West houses 5. There are 3 in the East, 2 in the South West, and 1 each in Scotland and Wales.

London based fintech, OakNorth, recently made the move to open an office in Manchester. Joel Perlman, Co-Founder of OakNorth said: “Since our founding, we have always had a world-class technology and operations function managed out of Manchester, so we want to continue building on this, tapping into the local talent pool, to now broaden our regional offering to lending as well.”