Tuesday 16 March 2021 11:00 am

London is home to 60 unicorns after record levels of investment last year

London is now home to 60 companies with unicorn status as the capital cements itself as Europe’s hub for tech investment. 

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, six London-based companies secured valuations of over $1bn in 2020:  Octopus Energy, Arrival, Kazoo, infobip, Gousto and Hopin. 

And it’s been a strong start to 2021 with an additional five unicorns created this year already including Starling Bank and insurtech Zego. 

Tech Nation’s annual report published today reveals VC investment into UK tech firms reached $15bn last year, £200m higher than 2019’s record-breaking year.

London remains the UK’s main hub and is now fourth for tech VC investment globally behind San Francisco, Beijing and New York. 

The industry body has identified 10 “superstar scaleups” which between them have secured 20 per cent of total UK tech VC investment at $3.5bn. 

One of the pandemic’s few winners online events startup Hopin raised $150m in 2020 and has raised a further $400m Series C round cementing its unicorn status. 

Electric car company Arrival, which is now listed on Nasdaq, and Octopus Energy secured the biggest rounds for UK impact startups last year, at $400m and $577m respectively. 

“I’m immensely proud to lead a government that is so comprehensively committed to supporting the sector. We’re continuing to invest in [their] success, and I hope that the winning combination of UK tech and this government will lead us to yet another record-breaking year in 2021,” the Prime Minister said. 

The government has reiterated its commitment to tech companies over the past year and is looking to encourage the UK’s most promising startups to list in London. 

Tech IPOs gathered pace in the capital in the last year, with double the capital raised compared to 2018 but more work needs to be done. Eight of the UK’s tech companies went public in London last year, raising £3.1bn in total. 

“We are currently witnessing a generation of scaleup businesses reaching new heights and driving masses of inbound investment along with real momentum for the UK’s public markets,” Russ Shaw CBE, founder of Tech London Advocates said. 

“For years we have worked to cultivate a vibrant collective of tech startups in Britain, now we are seeing the fruits of world-class talent, a progressive regulatory environment and deep pools of capital as they scale.”

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