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UK tech overtakes China with £12.4bn in startup investment

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·4-min read
UK tech Ameca, a humanoid robot by Engineered Arts, interacts with attendees at the entrance to the UK Pavilion during CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
UK tech: London has dominated tech investment in Europe this year, raising £8.6bn. Photo: Steve Marcus/Reuters

UK tech companies have raised £12.4bn ($15.5bn) in venture funding since January, putting the country ahead of China when it comes to startup investment.

This means that tech startups in the UK have raised more venture capital funding in the first five months of 2022 than in the whole of 2020, when £12bn was secured, according to data by Dealroom analysed for the UK’s Digital Economy Council.

So far, more than 950 UK tech startups and scaleups have raised capital, putting the UK second to the US globally when it comes to startup investment and ahead of China, France and India.

This influx of capital means the UK is now home to 122 unicorns — startups valued at over $1bn — with more than 20 cities and towns home to at least one unicorn, and 248 futurecorns — companies that are all set to become unicorns.

Read more: UK fintech £32bn revenue opportunity, says CBI boss

London has dominated tech investment in Europe this year, raising £8.6bn, double that of Paris which raised £3.9bn and over four times the amount of Berlin (£1.9bn).

Three UK regional cities and towns — Cambridge, Oxford and Abingdon — are amongst the top 20 European futurecorn hubs. Together they are home to 18 futurecorns including Healx, Oxbotica and Immunocore.

This year, Leeds-based Northern Gritstone has raised £215m to deploy in university spinouts across Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield and Manchester-based Praetura Ventures has raised £100m to support startups in the north of England.

Cambridge Innovation Capital has also raised its largest fund to date, £225m, to invest in high-growth companies in sectors including health tech and enterprise software.

Yoram Wijngaarde, founder and CEO at Dealroom, said: “Despite the wider global challenges that have led to a slow down in public markets, private tech investment in the UK is continuing to grow. The UK has cemented its reputation as one of the best places to invest in fintech, with more fintech investment going into the country in the first part of this year compared to even the Bay Area.

"Nearly everything will be affected by the downturn we’ve entered into, but overall the UK tech sector is in a strong position than it's ever been before in terms of breadth and depth of the entire ecosystem.”

Fintech has come out as the strongest sector for UK tech investment this year with £6.2bn raised by fintech startups and scaleups already this year.

Read more: UK tech ecosystem reaches $1tn valuation

After fintech, healthtech was the second-most popular sector for investment so far in 2020, with around £791m invested.

Impact tech companies, which are using technology to solve challenges including climate change, are continuing to grow and scale across the UK. Last year, over £2.7 bn was invested in impact startups — representing the most ever, in a single year.

Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise, added: “I’ve been investing in startups across Europe for nearly 15 years and the past 12 months have been unlike any I’ve experienced. I believe we’re at the start of a new frontier for technology and I hope to find and support the next 100 iconic companies that will be started in the UK and grow into global giants.”

London Tech Week begins this Monday, with more than 50 events and three hundred speakers. Downing Street will host a dinner with tech bosses and venture capital firms to encourage investment in the UK.

Digital secretary Nadine Dorries is expected to say to the audience of the event’s Headline Stage: "It is a staggering achievement that UK tech companies are attracting more investment than countries more than ten times our size. This is a huge vote of confidence in the talent behind great British tech and the innovative, competitive market that we have here.

"Today we'll unveil our new strategy to capitalise on this success by helping firms grow, create and fill new high-skilled jobs and deliver revolutionary technologies to improve lives across the UK."

Watch: UK tech sector enjoys record year after start-ups attract more capital than ever before

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