Tech firms soaring in Leeds says banker

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Tech firms must be at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse initiative, with investors increasingly seeing Leeds’s digital companies as a ripe source for investment, the boss of a large investment bank has said.

Hugh Campbell, founder and managing partner of GP Bullhound, told the YEP that the rise of tech giants such as Sky Betting and Emis showed that it was eminently possible to grow a large-scale tech business in the region and that the strength of the area’s universities and quality of life can give them the personnel they need to succeed.

Mr Campbell said the fact that private equity houses were increasingly putting funds into tech firms was a good barometer of how well developed the tech sector was.

However he also warned that local authorities across the north of England are often too focused on start-up companies rather than nurturing existing ones and said that access to funding for fledgling firms was still hard to come by locally.

“There is a lot of exciting developments in the Yorkshire tech scene right now.

“My sense more broadly is that if the Northern Powerhouse is going to work than technology and investing in technology has to be a critical part of that.

“It is not going to be successful if it just based on bigger roads, bigger tunnels and faster trains. There needs to be a sector focus and it strikes me that the digital technologies is an important part of it, if only because that is where there has been such massive growth.”

The news comes as Skey Betting and Gaming announced it was creating 20 new jobs in Leeds as part of its graduation programme.