D-Line’s founder and managing director, Paul Ruddick, with Middleton Enterprises CEO Jeremy Middleton.


Cable management company D-Line and investor Jeremy Middleton have completed a six-figure deal with venture capital firm Northstar Ventures to buy out Northstar’s share of D-Line.

The Newcastle-based entrepreneur and business expert’s investment firm Middleton Enterprises initially invested, alongside Northstar Ventures’ North East Co Investment Fund, in D-Line in 2006 with £160,000 of capital, shortly after its start up in late 2005.

Now Middleton Enterprises and D-Line have joined forces with other investors to buy out Northstar’s initial investment which will join other investment returns to form a new fund to be ploughed back into other local companies to help the North East economy grow.

D-Line, which supplies its cable management products, including its patented trunking, to leading DIY retailers and trade outlets, was set up when managing director Paul Ruddick spotted a gap in the market for a product which stylishly hides wires and tidies cables in ways which blend with decor.

In the last three years, D-Line’s annual turnover has gone from £1.2m to around £2.5m, £1m of which is from exporting its British made products.

Jeremy Middleton said: “I’m very proud to be working with a business which has successfully grown into a robust and profitable company, with much of the credit for that due to Paul and his team. D-Line is a strong exporter, recently expanding into both emerging and established global markets, including the USA and South Africa.

“We’re delighted that we have made a further investment into D-Line, which I believe will continue to expand and thrive. I think this is an excellent example of how investment can benefit both the investor and the investee, ultimately helping the economy to build and grow.”

Ian Richards, Director at Northstar Ventures, said: “We are delighted to see a business that we originally backed in 2006, and supported in successive rounds, grow to a level that enables us to realise our investment, and we wish the Directors and investors the very best for the future. As an added bonus, we are excited by the prospect of a new fund re-investing the returns from our investments into growing more successful businesses in the North East.”

D-Line’s founder and managing director, Paul Ruddick said: “Myself and the management are pleased to have received the continued support of the shareholders and this move will allow us to continue to drive the business forward. We have achieved so much and can now look forward to continuing our work with the support of a very focussed group of backers.”

CONTACT: Lauren Pyrah on 01325 363436
Notes to Editors:

Middleton Enterprises Ltd is a private investment company that has made a substantial contribution to the North East’s economy by investing in and providing business advice to entrepreneurial businesses.

During recent years, it has supported a number of North East businesses, generally from start-up, usually taking a minority stake and offering strategic advice to support growth.

About Northstar Ventures

Northstar is a venture capital firm which specialises in creating and building early stage high-growth businesses across the North East of England.
Northstar is currently investing two funds in the Region:
• The Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund
• The Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund

These Funds are backed by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund.

The Proof of Concept Fund supports the very early stages of business creation within the technology sector. The Fund’s investments are generally between £20k and £100k, but it has the ability to complete follow-on investments above this level. The Fund is targeted at eligible technology businesses located, or with substantial operations, in the North East of England. We are also seeking to invest in businesses that are willing to relocate to the region.

The Accelerator invests in high growth, innovative early stage businesses in any eligible sector and will complete investments of between £100k and £500k, with the maximum investment into any one company being limited to £750k per year. It invests in companies and pre-start enterprises at an early stage of their development i.e. predominantly at the start-up and seed capital stages.

Northstar Ventures is a trading name of NorthStar Equity Investors Limited. NorthStar Equity Investors Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. NorthStar Equity Investors Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales with company number 0510 4995. Registered office: 5th Floor, Maybrook House, 27-35 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JE. Further information can be found at http://www.northstarventures.co.uk

The £30m North East Co-Investment Fund

The £30m North East Co-Investment Fund provided financial backing to local innovative enterprises, syndicating its deals with the private sector. The capital was provided by the European Regional Development Fun and One North East. The fund was fully invested by 31 December 2009.


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D-Line’s founder and managing director, Paul Ruddick, with Middleton Enterprises CEO Jeremy Middleton.
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