North of England venture capital firm Northern Gritstone has announced its final close of £312m, with more than £150m coming from local authority pension funds.

The VC firm will use the funds to back tech spinouts and startups in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.

“Receiving the endorsements of asset managers, mayors and pension funds shows the broad appeal of Northern Gritstone’s offering,” said Lord Jim O’Neill, chair of Northern Gritstone.

“It is a show of faith in the potential for growth in the northern economy and a significant step in our development of a technology and innovation hub in the region.”

The local pension funds that have supplied financing are South Yorkshire Pension Fund, West Yorkshire Pension Fund, Greater Manchester Pension Fund, Merseyside Pension Fund and East Riding Pension Fund.

It comes as the government is exploring ways to encourage more pension funds to allocate some of their cash into technology startups amid concerns over a lack of liquidity in capital markets.

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