UK on a high
Britain’s tech boom: best ever year for investment
Scotland is sharing the UK’s tech boom
Britain’s technology sector enjoyed its best ever year for venture capital investment in 2019, with success increasingly shared across the country.
New government data shows venture capital investment rose 44% on 2018 to a record £10.1bn. This meant UK companies secured 33% of all European tech investment.
Growth outstripped the US, China, Germany and France with the UK producing twice as many unicorns as Germany and three times as many as France.
Fintech, AI and deep tech and clean energy were the UK’s best performing sectors.
Over the same period VC investment in the US and China slipped by 20% and 65% respectively.
Edinburgh emerged as one of the 26 top destinations in the world with its companies receiving $200m new VC investment.
Research prepared for the Digital Economy Council by Tech Nation and Dealroom.co shows that between January and December, UK companies secured a third of the £30.4bn raised during the year in Europe.
UK-based tech firms received more VC investment than Germany (£5.4bn) and France (£3.4bn) combined.
These brilliant new numbers demonstrate the strength of the UK tech industry and how it is a sweet spot of our economy.– Nicky Morgan
The UK’s performance in 2019 means it now sits behind only the US and China in terms of total venture capital funding received in 2019.
Almost half of the UK investments (£4.6bn) in 2019 came via US and Asian investors and the UK tech sector recently overtook the US for foreign investment per capita. When compared to Germany and France, the UK had the widest overall mix of foreign versus domestic investors.
Eight further billion-dollar companies, or unicorns, were created in the UK – taking the total number to 77 – while the amount invested in early-stage companies increased, reaching £3.9bn from £3bn the year before.
Since 2014, the UK has produced more than twice the total number of $1bn tech companies than any other country in Europe, and sits behind only the US and China when it comes to building fast-growing global firms.
Last year saw one of the UK’s largest ever Series A investments – in payments processor Checkout.com ($230m) in May, and the largest UK round of all time, which saw $800m invested in supply-chain fintech firm Greensill.
Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “These brilliant new numbers demonstrate the strength of the UK tech industry and how it is a sweet spot of our economy.
“Our tech companies are not only commanding the confidence of global investors but they are also creating new jobs and wealth across the country.
“It’s absolutely vital we maintain this impressive success and in Government we are working tirelessly to make sure the conditions are right.”