Northern Ireland tech firms battle for £750 million in funding

Up to £750 million of funding is available for Northern Ireland tech firms.

Patrick Magee, the chief commercial officer at the British Business Bank is bringing major venture capital investors to Belfast in a bid to boost the country’s technology investment. Magee, from County Down, is bringing 12 venture capital managers to the Tech Belfast Advocates VC today as he aims to showcase his home country’s technology pioneers.

"The VC marketplace is very much focused in London, and Northern Ireland is only getting around 1% of the equity market so we are really under-served here," explained Mr Magee.

He said: “The event will showcase the province’s strong tech talent pool as well as dozens of really interesting high tech companies. If we have all these exciting tech companies and an underserved equity capital market, I thought why couldn’t we bring them together. There will be lots of business cards swapped. I would be very disappointed if they didn’t invest," added Mr Magee.

He added: "The rate of business start-ups here is good, research and development is on a par with the rest of the UK. The British Bank thinks in terms of clusters, the right dynamics, smart and educated workforce and Belfast has that and we can really help to bolster that sector."

Technology hubs outside of London have been growing over the past few years, with many cities specialising in different niche areas. For example, Reading and Liverpool are leaders in the internet of things (IoT). Meanwhile Coventry and Aberdeen topped the leaderboard for manufacturing and Cardiff has also been identified as showing ‘early signs of an emerging virtual reality innovation cluster’.

In January, the city of Newcastle also announced that it is bidding to become a ‘world leader’ in construction technologies such as BIM, virtual reality, smart cities and cloud computing. In partnership with Northumbria University, tech initiative Dynamo is set to unveil plans for a £40 million centre that will see the North East lead the world in the development of smart city technology.

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