New angel network aims to give wings to North’s tech sector

A new business angel network aims to boost the North’s technology sector by bringing together early-stage companies with experienced entrepreneurs who can provide investment, mentoring and support.

DSW Ventures aims to provide a strong and active angel network similar to those in Scotland and Cambridge, where angels have played a key role in the growth of the tech sector.

It has the support of many high-profile Northern entrepreneurs including Bill Ainscough of Wainhomes, Richard Law of GB Group, Peter Mansfield of Call Credit, and Anthony Molloy of Daisy Group.

The network has been launched by independent advisory firm Dow Schofield Watts and will be led by David Smith, who heads the firm’s technology team and who formerly managed the North West Fund for Digital & Creative.

DSW Ventures aims to address the funding gap for early-stage technology investments in the North. It will focus on promising early-stage technology businesses, particularly those with early revenues but which fall short of the size criteria of most tech venture capital investors.

Membership is open to new and existing angel investors and requires no commitment or fees. A committee of members will help to select investment opportunities which are circulated among the network, with most of them likely to qualify for EIS tax relief.

Initially, the network will invest up to £500k in each business. Dow Schofield Watts Ventures will also look to co-invest with other funders where appropriate.

David Smith said: “The North has no equivalent of the successful angel groups in Edinburgh or Cambridge and, with the venture capital industry largely focused on London, there is a funding gap for early-stage tech companies in the North. However, we do have plenty of successful entrepreneurs, some of whom have been through the entire growth cycle of building and selling a business, and are willing to invest time and money in helping others.

“DSW Ventures will bring together entrepreneurs with fledgeling businesses in need of funding and support. We aim to build a strong angel network that will be instrumental in driving the growth of the North’s technology sector.”

DSW Ventures will be operated by Dow Schofield Watts’ private equity arm, PHD Equity Partners. Potential investors and entrepreneurs seeking funding can find out more at and can apply at