The UK has seen seven new tech businesses reach ‘decacorn’ status – meaning a valuation of $10bn (£7.3bn) or more – in the first half of this year, as the pandemic pushed consumers to rely increasingly on digital solutions.
New data from tech scaleup experts Tech Nation and market intelligence firm Dealroom found that the UK ranks third globally for its number of $10bn tech businesses, with 12 in total, behind the US, with 157, and China, with 38.
However, the UK has doubled its number of decacorns in just six months, with seven companies reaching $10bn valuations in 2021: fintechs Revolut (valued at $33bn) and Wise ($11bn); electric vehicle maker Arrival (valued at $13bn); online share trading platform eToro ($10bn); payments firm Checkout.com ($15bn); e-commerce firm Farfetch ($16.7bn) and online grocer Ocado ($20bn).
They join the UK’s first five decacorns: chip maker ARM ($40bn), payments firm WorldPay ($46.9bn), data centre operator GlobalSwitch ($11bn), information provider IHS Markit ($52.4bn) and insurance firm Admiral Group ($13.9bn).
“Through 2020 and 2021, the rapid growth of the UK’s highest-value tech companies was accelerated by the pandemic, as consumers began to rely increasingly on tech for food deliveries, healthcare and solutions to societal challenges,” said Dr. George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation.
“The growth of these high-value UK tech companies was also expedited by changing national and global priorities, such as the UK’s push towards reducing carbon emissions and becoming net zero by 2050, combined with the growing popularity of fintech, DeFi and cryptocurrencies. The UK is also a powerful tech incubator due to its commitment to helping startups scale and thrive.”
In total, the UK’s decacorns have raised $9.78bn, with over 50 per cent of investment having come from the US, and employ almost 50,000 people.
“These new figures reaffirm the UK’s position as a top global tech hub with strong growth from the sector as we build back better from the pandemic,” said digital secretary Oliver Dowden.
“We are backing our booming tech scene with world-class digital infrastructure, skills and pro-innovation regulation attracting talent and creating jobs across the country.”