A challenger bank has created 30 jobs in Newcastle after opening an office in the city centre.
London headquartered Pockit, which provides bank accounts for people with poor credit scores, has opened a new base in Newcastle as part of its expansion plans.
The fintech firm has already recruited 30 to work in its North East office and is looking to double its headcount soon.
Pockit’s CEO and founder, Virraj Jatania, said the business decided to set up shop in Newcastle because of its access to a highly skilled talent pool and its growing reputation as a centre for tech firms.
He said: “Our decision to set up an office Newcastle and join their thriving and fast-growing fintech community was down to the collaborative nature of the business community, its ability to attract and retain talent and reputation as a place to grow a tech business.
“We were quickly able to set up our offices and hire a skilled high-performing team. We have a high number of customers from the north of the UK, which also added value and the talent pool of graduates from Newcastle’s two major universities and the city’s quality of life were decisive points when we compared the city with other locations.”
Pockit’s new office has been opened in one of HiveTree’s commercial properties. HiveTree has a number of locations around Newcastle and is aiming to create a cluster of community-drive, tech focused workspaces.
Pockit was able to carry out its expansion plans after securing £15m of investment during 2020. This included £15m raised through a Series B funding round from existing and new investors, as well as almost £1.4m which was raised through crowdfunding.
Mr Jatania said: “Launching a crowdfunding campaign has been an ambition of ours for some time and the time to accelerate is right now; the Covid recession and the end of furlough schemes will disproportionately affect the financially underserved. Some 12 million people in the UK need a solution urgently, and we believe Pockit is that solution. We look forward to growing and supporting people from our brand-new offices in Newcastle.”
The company’s move to the North East was supported by Invest Newcastle, which promotes inward investment to the city.
“Invest Newcastle have supported us on throughout our journey, assisting with our business case, signposting us to local funding opportunities, identifying strategic business opportunities and making vital introductions. The team have been helpful and are a great source of local knowledge and support,” added Mr Jatania.
Jennifer Hartley, director of Invest Newcastle and Dynamo Advisory Board member, said: “We are delighted that Pockit will be joining our forward-thinking and ambitious business community.
“We are home to a thriving digital and tech ecosystem and now more than ever we need to build our economy around our strengths – creating jobs, retaining talent, and positioning our city as a career destination. Our unique eco-system, talent and experienced and supportive business community is helping us to reimagine our new world.
“Over the last year we have had notable successes in attracting investment, despite the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact of coronavirus. This move from Pockit, further highlights our city’s digital strengths and that you do not need to be in London to have an exciting and ambitious tech career. “
The move has also been welcomed by Newcastle City Council.
Coun Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, said: “This new investment in Newcastle is testament to the confidence businesses have in our city as a place to locate and grow their business and we cannot wait to watch Pockit grow and thrive here.
“Inward Investment plays a vital role in the creation of jobs and opportunities for those who live and work here. We are confident this will be the first of many businesses choosing Newcastle as we start the new year and work towards economic recovery.”
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