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B-North secures £250k investment from Greater Manchester Combined Authority

By Megha Bhattacharya

January 05, 2021

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B-NorthManchester-based B-North reportedly announced that it has received a follow-on £250,000 investment from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The company has also secured an advertising-for-equity deal with Channel 4 Ventures. The investments form a part of the company’s over-subscribed £2.7m ‘Bridge’ funding round.

B-North is expected to use the funding to boost awareness of its new proposition amongst retail customers after it 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.”

B-North stated that it is the process of 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.

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.”

Recently, B-North selected Wiserfunding as its risk grading partner in a bid to speed up credit profile assessments of SMEs as well as to support B-North underwriters to make better lending decisions. The SME lending bank is expected to utilise Wiserfunding’s prediction solution alongside traditional human underwriting methods.

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.”

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