Sure Valley Ventures has just raised a £95m fund to invest in software startups located across the UK.

The venture capital firm announced this week that it has set up teams in Manchester and Leeds, hiring two executives in each of the northern cities.

Mel Ellyard, formerly of British Business Bank, has been appointed director of Sure Valley Ventures in Leeds. She has more than 25 years of experience in this role, including leadership roles in startups and investment firms.

“Northern England is home to a significant and growing number of technological innovations that have previously been overlooked by venture capital firms and I am delighted to be working with Sure Valley, who recognize the exciting opportunities in this region and the importance of rebalancing the flow of capital to include underserved areas” , – said Elyard.

Mel Elyard, head of Sure Valley Ventures in Leeds

Meanwhile, George Mensah has taken up a principle role in Manchester, moving from AFC Investors where he was investment manager.

“Manchester is increasingly becoming a hub for exciting, disruptive and high-growth technology businesses,” Mensah said. “However, these talented founders are underserved by venture capitalists, so I can’t wait to bring new opportunities to Sure Valley Ventures in the coming months. My main focus will be on identifying the best founders in AI/ML, exciting technology, Web3, gaming, eSports, IoT, cyber security and information security.”

Founded in 2017, Sure Valley Capital was formed by ex-tech founders to focus on the UK and Ireland technology market. In addition to providing capital, the venture capital firm operates a platform to create special programs to mentor and assist the founders in which it invests.

Sure Valley Ventures is regionally focused

Sure Valley Ventures, or SVV, has a presence in London, Cambridge and Dublin. Back in March, the company vk exclusively general with UKTN launching its £95m fund, set up to invest in early-stage UK software startups working in areas such as the metaverse, AI and cyber security.

Barry Downes, co-founder and managing partner of Sure Valley Ventures, hinted at the time that the firm would be sending people to more locations across the UK within the year.

“I think you will probably see .. other people in other centers across the UK as we build the fund over the next year,” he said UKTN.

While London continues to dominate the UK tech industry in terms of investment and number of tech start-ups, regional tech hubs such as Manchester, Leeds, Cambridge and Cardiff are growing.

George Mensah Sure Valley Ventures
George Mensah, managing director of Sure Valley Ventures in Manchester

Investors are increasingly looking outside the capital for their next bet, an approach SVV is taking.

Downes is optimistic about the metaverse and sees a nascent sector “coming out of the creative industries.” This is one of the reasons why SVV has expanded to Manchester and Leeds, two cities known for their thriving creative industries.

The venture capital’s latest hires follow the recent promotion of Isabelle O’Keefe as its first female partner and head of creation.

O’Keefe said UKTN that SVV, before the pandemic, operated with a distributed working model in which people were located remotely across the country.

During the pandemic, deal flows shifted to virtual meetings, but after restrictions were lifted, she realized that having investors in this ecosystem was “indispensable.”

“The presence of investors really shows that there is genuine interest [founders] having someone to talk to … that was definitely our intentional approach,” O’Keefe said.


Sure Valley Ventures expands to Leeds and Manchester in regional push

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