Tuesday 27 October 2020 11:10 am

Investment into UK 'tech for good' surges amid climate crisis

UK impact tech firms have received nearly ten times more investment in the past five years as European investors turned their attention to issues such as climate change. 

Investment into these ‘tech for good’ startups has increased 9.5 times between 2014 and 2019, according to the latest research by Tech Nation and Dealroom. 

Read more: IMF chief: Climate change poses ‘profound threat’ to global growth

An impact startup is a company that addresses one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include gender equality, climate action and tackling poverty. Rather than a sector of firms, they are a framework for articulating values that focus on social impact. 

In the UK, these startups have raised a staggering €1.4bn so far this year with cleantech and climate tech firms raising the most capital. 

The biggest funding rounds this year include The Meatless Farm Company, a Leeds-based vegan brand, which last month closed a $31m funding round, as well as energy firms Octopus Energy and Tokamak Energy. 

Climate tech startups, which includes electric vehicles, have attracted the most capital with €9.8bn investment from venture capital firms in the last five years.

What was once fringe investment has become a core part of Europe’s landscape, with data showing European startups emerging as global market leaders.

Impact startups on the continent received €6bn in investment in 2019, making up over 15 per cent of all VC investment in the region. 

Crucially these firms are fuelling growth and job creation; Tech Nation’s new database of impact startups shows over 2,100 jobs in impact startups are currently hiring in Europe with over 390 of these in the UK. 

Read more: Climate-related risk becomes leading concern for business leaders

George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation said: “UK impact tech firms have come on leaps and bounds over the last six years… UK tech must continue to play a key part in tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges, including  climate change.” 

Tech Nation recently launched its Net Zero programme for companies who are “paving the way to stabilising global temperatures”. As part of the initiative, the industry body is looking to help early-stage firms that operate across key sectors without taking an equity stake in the business.