Sean Kelly, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures (left), Chris Dawson and Dale Knight of One Utiluty Bill, and Jeremy Middleton CBE

North East investor and philanthropist Jeremy Middleton has backed a Newcastle-based start-up, as part of a round of investment led by Northstar Ventures.

His first major investment since the end of his mayoral campaign, Mr Middleton’s stake in One Utility Bill formed part of a £500,000 round of fundraising.

One Utility Bill provides a service for residential landlords and their tenants that merges their utility bill with their rent into one all-inclusive charge, which makes life easier for both parties, especially with homes of multiple occupancy.

Since it was founded two years ago by Newcastle University graduate Chris Dawson and his business partner Dale Knight the company has grown to service more than 150 letting agents, and employ 16 people.

This round of funding, which is the company’s second, will help the firm expand further and will create a number of additional jobs in Newcastle.

Jeremy Middleton said: “I’m delighted to back One Utility Bill, our region needs companies with great ideas and the motivation to bring them to fruition, and these guys have both. My first company was in the utility sector, I have invested in a number of others in it, and I think One Utility Bill brings a great new service to the market.

Sean Kelly, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures, said: “The progress Chris and Dale have made with One Utility Bill over the last two years is really great to see. The interest from letting agencies, landlords and tenants really shows the quality of the business. This, along with the funding they’ve received from the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund, has helped them become one of the North East’s fastest growing start-ups.

“We’ve supported One Utility Bill from its inception and we are pleased to be furthering our relationship with Chris, Dale and the team. We look forward to seeing the company continue to grow and achieve success at the highest level.”

Chris Dawson said: “We operate nationally, and are based in Newcastle, so this investment allows us to serve more customers across the country, while creating jobs locally. Newcastle is a fantastic climate for businesses to start up and grow, and this investment is a great example of the funding available to help them.”



CONTACT: Chris Rowell on 01325 363436

Notes to Editors:

Jeremy Middleton

Jeremy is a self-made businessman and philanthropist based in the North East. He was a Board Member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) from 2011 to 2016 and was Chairman of the North East LEP Investment Fund.

In 2012 Jeremy was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for Services to Politics and Charities.

About Northstar Ventures

Northstar Ventures is a venture capital company dedicated to building successful high growth businesses across the North East of England. The £20.7m Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund is one of the funds we manage.

The North East 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.

Northstar Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Northstar Ventures Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales with company number 05104995. Registered office: 5th Floor, Maybrook House, 27-35 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JE. Further information can be found at


Northstar Ventures

Laura Richards, Marketing & PR Manager 0191 229 2776

About North East Finance and the Finance for Business North East (or JEREMIE) Fund

North East Finance (NEF) is the holding fund manager of the £159.9m Finance for Business North East (FBNE) programme: a suite of seven venture capital and loan funds which NEF established in 2010. The funds, which provide investment for start-up and growing businesses in the North East of England, will continue investing until the end of 2016 and aim to support 850 companies and to create or safeguard almost 10,000 jobs.

NEF oversees the delivery of the seven funds, each of which is managed by an independent, FCA regulated fund management company. Details of these, and up to date information on the progress of the FBNE programme, is available on NEF’s website: As well as providing funding options to businesses finding it difficult to access mainstream finance in the current economic climate, the FBNE programme aims to help stimulate new business creation, private investment in business and entrepreneurialism in the North East.

The FBNE programme is funded by the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and the UK government. It was established under the JEREMIE initiative: a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank which stands for Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises.

The Chief Executive of North East Finance is Andrew Mitchell and the organization has an Advisory Board which includes highly experienced venture capital and finance professionals from across the UK.


North East Finance

Andrew Mitchell, Chief Executive 0191 211 2300

NEF’s PR agency: MHW PR Ltd

Wayne Halton 0191 233 1300

About the European Regional Development Fund

The Proof of Concept Fund is part of the Finance for Business North East project – which is part financed by the North East of England European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit: ;


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Sean Kelly, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures (left), Chris Dawson and Dale Knight of One Utiluty Bill, and Jeremy Middleton CBE
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