Commercial & Northern (t/a B-North) secures £250k Series A investment from Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Channel 4 Ventures

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Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Channel 4 Ventures invest in B-North’s latest capital raise

Manchester, January 2021 – B-North, the Manchester-based firm building a regional SME lending bank for the UK, has received a follow-on £250,000 investment from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The GMCA had previously invested in the firm’s ‘Seed’ funding round. In a further boost, the company has secured an advertising-for-equity deal with Channel 4 Ventures, which will allow B-North to build significant awareness of its new proposition amongst retail customers once B-North has received its banking licence.

These investments make up part of B-North’s over-subscribed £2.7m ‘Bridge’ funding round.  B-North has now raised more than £9m since launching and is closing in on its £20m ‘Series A’ fundraise which will enable B-North to secure its banking licence. 

B-North is establishing a UK-wide network of ‘lending Pods’ to provide finance dynamically to regional SME businesses that are often poorly served by traditional lenders. The first of B-North’s pods is expected to open in Manchester in 2021. 

Jonathan Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO of B-North said: 

“I am delighted that GMCA continues to support B-North and we look forward to working with them to drive forward the regional economy. 

“And I am thrilled that Channel 4 Ventures have also invested in B-North. There is a tremendous strategic fit between our two businesses and the investment is a humbling vote of confidence.”

Councillor David Molyneux, GMCA Lead for Investment and Resources, said: 

“As Greater Manchester’s economy recovers it is vital our SMEs are supported with access to finance. It’s often these businesses that are overlooked by traditional lenders, but they will be essential to help with the revival of our city-region’s economy.

“This additional GMCA investment will support B-North as it seeks authorisation to launch a bank headquartered in Greater Manchester and improve access to finance in the region.  The provision of quick and efficient finance to SME’s will be much needed if we’re to fulfil our post-Covid recovery ambitions and that is why the GMCA is pleased to invest in B-North.”

Vinay Solanki, Head of Channel 4 Ventures said: 

“We have been seriously impressed by the management team of B-North and are really looking forward to helping them raise awareness to our upmarket and affluent audiences when they fully launch their consumer offering.  Moreover, we hope to be a long-term investment partner for B-North, as it is a business that is deeply aligned with our own mission as a public service broadcaster that plays an important role in the UK SME ecosystem.”


Notes to editor

Media Contacts:
Christopher Flame, Yellow Jersey PR
+44(0)7889 297 217
[email protected]

Alex Crean, Yellow Jersey PR
+44(0)7753 170 777
[email protected]

About B-North

B-North is a challenger that is being developed to serve the UK business lending market. Founded in 2018 by former Santander and Atom Bank executives, B-North is in the process of applying for its banking licence. The team is taking its deep insight into the market for lending to UK businesses and using this to place the customer right at the heart of its business model.  The result will be flexible, fast-paced and borrower-friendly.

About Greater Manchester Combined Authority

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority(GMCA) is made up of the ten Greater Manchester councils and Mayor, who work with other local services, businesses, communities and other partners to improve the city-region. The ten councils (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) have worked together voluntarily for many years on issues that affect everyone in the region, like transport, regeneration, and attracting investment.

The GMCA gives local people more control over issues that affect their area. It means the region speaks with one voice and can make a strong case for resources and investment. It helps the entire north of England achieve its full potential.

About Channel 4 Ventures

Channel 4 Ventures is an innovative corporate venture activity for Channel 4, which invests in high potential, early stage companies using a media-for-equity model. This model empowers companies to use high quality TV advertising slots to drive significant awareness of their products within the UK population. 

Since inception in 2015, Channel 4 Ventures has completed 20+ investments in consumer and SME-focused brands, including Pinterest, Eve Sleep, what3words, Drover, Meatless Farm, Rated People, Hussle, Crowdcube, Sportpursuit, and Jobtoday, working alongside leading institutional investors.

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Safiya Marzook

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