Two international tech firms open city region HQs

Two international technology companies are setting up UK headquarters at a newly-opened business hub at Daresbury in a double coup for Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

Violet, a £17.8m business hub at Sci-Tech Daresbury


Two international technology firms are the first tenants to take up residence at a £17.8m facility at Liverpool city region science and innovation campus Sci-Tech Daresbury.

Australian firm Blackmagic Design and China’s Geek+ have chosen Violet, a 43,000 sq ft office and laboratory development that was officially opened in February, for their UK headquarters. 

Blackmagic, one of the world’s leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology, will also run its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations from the Sci-Tech Daresbury site which is home to more than 150 businesses.

Since 1984, Blackmagic’s DaVinci colour correction products have dominated the television and film industry. Its recent innovations include 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. It has taken the entire 19,000 sq ft V1 building within the violet complex.

Stuart Ashton, director of Blackmagic Design, said: “Sci-Tech Daresbury is a vibrant community with outstanding facilities that will bring a lot of energy to our business. The North West is a thriving hub for innovation with access to many leading technical colleges and universities that will be important to our future growth and success.”

Geek+ is a Beijing headquartered global technology company that specialises in smart logistics, boasting a significant market share in global AMR (autonomous mobile robots) markets and leading the global smart logistics revolution.

The company has chosen Violet as its UK headquarters and will employ at least 30 staff at the campus. The move to set up a UK base has been driven by the growing number of businesses that are turning to automation and AMRs to boost their competitiveness.

From Daresbury Geek+ will be able to provide a full range of Al driven robotics solutions to customers across the country. It will occupy 4,300 sq ft of office space across two floors, in addition to a 2,050 sq ft Experience Centre which will enable the showcasing of the company’s technologies.

The company already has a connection to Sci-Tech Daresbury, with UK and Ireland partner Breathe Technologies using Techspace Two as base to deliver warehouse automation systems, software and services to customers such as GXO, Pets At Home and QVC.

Simon Houghton, Geek+’s head of sales for UK & Ireland, said: “We are looking for local talent to join the Geek+ team and help develop our brand in the UK. With our brilliant new base at Sci-Tech Daresbury, we believe we can nurture a powerful team and support our expansion in UK.”


Blackmagic Design will occupy the whole of V1 at Violet at Sci-Tech Daresbury


Violet was officially handed over by contractors Willmott Dixon in February. It is expected to create or support 332 full-time equivalent jobs and has received £8.4m funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

This comprised a £2.5m loan from the Urban Development Fund, together with £5.9m from the Combined Authority’s Chrysalis Fund, both funds being managed or advised by igloo Investment Management.

Violet encompasses two buildings (V2 and V3) providing 12,000 sq ft each and one building (V1) of 19,000 sq ft. Each building entails floor plates of around 4,300 to 6,300 sq ft.

John Downes, chief executive of Langtree and chairman of Sci-Tech Daresbury, added: “These international companies prove that Violet has made the campus an extremely desirable location for cutting edge and scaling businesses from across the world.

“This expansion of our community is yet more evidence that the North West and specifically the Liverpool city region is taking great strides in supporting the UK’s progress in being a technological superpower.”

Another development, Ultraviolet, will comprise a further 180,000 sq ft of grade A office and laboratory space.

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