Foreign cash ploughed into UK startups hit record levels last year, with more than £8bn invested in young companies

Lucy White
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A record amount of money, at £8.27bn, was invested in UK startup businesses last year, new data shows.

The promising recovery from 2016's slump showed an all-time high of megadeals, according to data from research firm Beauhurst, as 29 investments of more than £50m were completed. These included a £215m funding round in TransferWise, and a £74.1m round in Deliveroo.

Read more: Transferwise aims to kick off a new fundraising to take its value above £1bn

Foreign cash was a big driver, despite fears that Brexit may have sunk some overseas interest, as money from outside the UK backed 23 of the megadeals. Overall, foreign investors committed a whopping £5.9bn to more than 369 deals.

"More and more business owners are recognising that with strong financial backing and genuine support there are as many opportunities as challenges, and that growth is out there," said Stephen Welton, chief executive of the UK's bank-backed Business Growth Fund.

"These results demonstrate that entrepreneurialism across the UK is alive and well."

Read more: The UK risks losing popularity with foreign investors, but remains Europe's top financial services location

London was home to more than half of all UK deals for the first time, while it took 72 per cent of megadeals.

Fintech, or financial technology, also had a record year as it accounted for a quarter of all megadeals. The sector grew by 15 per cent in terms of deals overall, with names such as Monzo and Atom Bank leading the way.

Private equity and venture capital firms were the biggest spenders, followed by crowdfunders. "It's brilliant to see equity investment into the UK's ambitious, high growth companies is in such rude health," said Crowdcube co-chief executive Luke Lang, whose firm saw more invested through its platform last year than ever before.

Read more: UK fintech investment hit a record in 2017

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