Venture capital investment into UK tech start-ups has reached “astonishingly high” levels, growing by 2.8 times year-on-year to reach $18bn (£13.2bn) in the first half of 2021, new research has found.
According to reports from Tech Nation and Dealroom, this means that the UK tech start-up sector is now worth more than Germany ($8.1bn) and France ($5.3bn) combined, and is over four times the value of Israel’s $4.6bn tech start-up ecosystem.
In 2021, the UK had produced 105 unicorns, becoming the third country in the world to pass 100 unicorns, after the US and China. The UK now has more unicorns than Germany (47), France (26) and Sweden (23) combined.
Investment into UK tech in the first six months of the year has almost exclusively been made into later stage companies as ‘mega rounds’ valued at £72m or more.
The majority of the investment has been focused on London, followed by Bristol, Birmingham and Cambridge, while tech companies in Scotland have raised £53.3m so far this year, and those in Northern Ireland have attracted £18.8m.
“We are in the midst of the fastest and most astonishingly high growth we’ve ever seen in the UK tech ecosystem, so much so that when it comes to the size of venture capital investment rounds, we are going to have to re-evaluate what we think of as being significant,” George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, said on the firm’s website.
“We are starting to see a step change in how the UK is being viewed on the global stage.
“The UK is a mature ecosystem that’s growing like an extremely nascent one, which is incredibly interesting.”
“This fantastic data shows the UK continues to be one of the most attractive places in the world to start, grow and invest in high-growth, innovative businesses and shows in particular that our fantastic capital is bouncing back,” Chancellor Rishi Sunak told City A.M.
“London has cemented itself as Europe’s leading tech hub, a sign of our capital city’s talent, innovation and resilience.
“The tech sector will play a pivotal role in our future economy and help drive forward our recovery from the pandemic.”
According to Innovate Finance, the fintech sector attracted $5.7bn in investment in the first half of the year, 34 per cent more than the whole amount raised during 2020 ($4.3bn).