Support for University spin outs


05 Sep 2019

Northstar Ventures is calling for more potential Angels for the North to step forward to support entrepreneurs from North East universities.

Northstar has been the main investor in North East University spin-outs since 2005, investing £5.1m into 13 companies, and bringing in over £14m of investment from the private sector alongside Northstar’s own funds.

Northstar recently received funding from Innovate UK to help increase the pool of regional angel investors prepared to consider investing in earlier stage, ambitious, innovative businesses in the North East, that are undertaking R&D (Research & Development) projects.

Dr Alex Buchan, Northstar Ventures Investment Director, said, “We are focusing on spin-outs from North East universities, to help them secure angel investment and grant funding to accelerate their growth potential at an earlier stage.

“We are now looking for alumni from North East Universities (Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland), and others, who would be interested in becoming Angel Investors.

“Working with Angels has always been core to our offering, and we are looking forward to opening up more opportunities to those alumni interested in investing in start-up businesses with R&D projects.”

 One recent successful Newcastle University spin-out Northstar has invested in is Changing Health –a digital health platform to help promote behaviour change.

 Changing Health has now been chosen by NHS England as one of five providers to deliver its Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP).

 Changing Health's programme will be offered to people who have declined face to face diabetes education. Its digital option suits those who can't or prefer not to attend classroom based sessions, as they can participate whenever and wherever suits them.

 Changing Health also delivers programmes for Type 2 diabetes (T2D) management in Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The digital platform has helped people successfully reverse their diagnosis of T2D – as well as changing preconceptions of how helpful health apps can be.

 Changing Health co-founders John Grummit and Professor Mike Trenell have been shortlisted for Health Entrepreneurs of the Year in the North East regional finals of the NatWest Business Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

The company has also been included in Business Cloud’s North East Top 50 to Watch. 

 Mike Trenell from Changing Health says,“Seeing how years of academic research can have a positive impact on people’s health in the real world is hugely rewarding. Our current and future partnerships will improve the lives for millions of people, something I’m humbled and proud to be part of.”

 Other Northstar investments into University spin-outs include:

  •  Applied Graphene Materials - a spin-out from Durham University which develops unique production processes and applications know-how for graphene.
  •  AMLo – which has developed a ground breaking procedure to identify which patients presenting with melanoma are likely to metastasise
  •  Newcells – which uses human tissue samples to significantly improve the efficiency and predictability of early stage drug development

Northstar Investment Director Dr Stephen Price says, “The potential of university spin-outs is huge, with the expertise and innovation the teams bring. When we invest in them we offer support and experience that goes beyond just putting in our own funding. We work closely with the teams, and other co-investors, to help them scale and grow quickly and in a sustainable way. These examples show how by collaborating with angel investors, ground breaking businesses from the North East can really be leading the way in cutting edge technology globally.”


Posted By
Sharon McKee

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