Liverpool business start-up factory Nova opens HQ in north docklands

Backed by shareholders, including former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, Nova focuses on sectors such as healthtech, fintech and eGaming. Tony McDonough reports

Nova
Nova’s 70 staff are now in a new base in Liverpool’s northern docklands

 

A Liverpool-based ‘cofoundery’ which partners with fledgling entrepreneurs to launch scaleable tech businesses, is setting up a new home in the city’s northern docklands.

Backed by shareholders, including former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, Nova was established in the Baltic Triangle in 2014 and focuses on sectors such as healthtech, fintech and eGaming. It has already generated £100m on shareholder value.

In 2018 it helped to fund 11 early-stage start-up businesses in Merseyside and across the North West with a a £1m seed fund cash injection. It attracted £500,000 of venture capital investment for the digital and health start-ups and matched that to take the figure up to £1m.

Nova takes a 25% equity stake in each business with the venture capitalists taking another 25% stake. Each of the entrepreneurs goes through a full mentoring programme, preparing them for their first investment pitches at free ‘Start-up Schools’

Sir Terry Leahy
Former Tesco chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy is a Nova backer

 

The business and its 70 staff have moved to Box Studios in the northern docklands, close to Sandhills station. It has plans to help create a further 40 start-ups by the end of 2019. This is in addition to the more than 80 tech start-ups Nova has already co-founded.

Nova claims its start-ups are more successful than the industry average with more than 50% still flourishing after three years – a much higher success rate than the industry average of 10%.

Upon entering the new HQ, visitors are greeted with a ground floor dedicated entirely to all of Nova’s start-up founders, with a free co-working space designed to foster a collaborative and innovative environment.

Andy Davidson, chief executive of Nova, said: “We are thrilled to be establishing our base in the North Docks. Being so close to projects like Make Liverpool and the Ten Streets Regeneration means we are at the centre of the action, and by renovating the building specifically to our needs we have been able to create a space to allow us to continue to grow and to encourage the creativity of our entrepreneurs and employees.”

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