The UK tech sector has reached the milestone of 100 UK tech companies valued at $1bn (£0.72bn) or more, thanks to the growth of tech unicorns, the majority of which are fintechs.
According to data from Dealroom and Tech Nation, the UK has now joined China and the US as the only nations to have triple digit unicorns.
UK tech unicorn creation reflects the rapid growth of the tech sector. So far in 2021, 13 UK tech unicorns have already been created, compared to seven in the whole of 2020, and UK tech unicorn creation has risen by 127 per cent since 2017, when the UK was home to 44 tech unicorns.
Collectively, the UK’s 100 tech unicorns have raised almost $32bn in venture capital investment across multiple tech sub-sectors. The majority (34 per cent) of UK tech unicorns are fintech companies, 14 per cent are healthtech, eight per cent travel and transport tech, five per cent foodtech and four per cent gaming.
The UK has more tech unicorns than Germany (42), France (22) and the Netherlands (18) combined, and is the first country in Europe to reach 100 unicorns.
The high levels of tech unicorn creation reflect the continued strength of the UK tech sector, which reached record highs in the first half of this year. UK tech start-ups have raised $14.5bn since the start of the year, beating the previous record of $8.9bn in the second half of 2020, with two weeks still left to go.
The UK’s 100th tech unicorn, Tractable, an AI start-up building computer vision tools, and a member of Tech Nation’s late-stage Future Fifty programme, has today announced a $60m Series D raise, that takes the company’s valuation to $1bn.
“Smashing through this milestone cements the UK’s place as one of the world’s top tech hubs,” said MP Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.
“The government is backing our brilliant innovators and entrepreneurs by investing in world-class digital infrastructure and people’s skills, so that we can create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and level up opportunity across the country.”
“With UK tech unicorn creation growing by 127 per cent over the last three years, it’s clear that the UK tech sector has become a rapidly growing hub for unicorns, culminating in 100 companies with unicorn status today,” said Gerard Grech, chief executive, Tech Nation.
“It’s a privilege to have worked closely with many of these inspiring companies, helping them navigate scaling challenges as they continue to transform every corner of UK industry.”
“The UK has just passed a major milestone,” said Yoram Wijngaarde, founder and chief executive of Dealroom.
“Only three countries have created unicorns in triple figures: the US, China and the UK. The raw unicorn figures can be a sign of a maturing ecosystem, but there is also no let up in pace.”