London leads Europe’s tech unicorn herd
The UK is now home to over 70 tech unicorns, having created more than one billion-dollar company every month in the last year.
Britain has more than double the amount of unicorns as the next highest-ranking European country, and comes third globally to the US and China, according to data from Tech Nation and Dealroom.
However London now has more fintech unicorns than San Francisco, the previous world leader, thanks to new entrants such as Greensill and Checkout.com.
Read more: London fintech startups to take fintech crown from San Francisco
Today the capital produces one in five of Europe’s billion-dollar startups, with London’s 45 unicorns at a combined valuation of $148bn (£116.2bn).
Speaking at London Tech Week, which begins today, Prime Minister Theresa May will announce more than £1.2bn of fresh investment from 13 tech companies into the fastest-growing sector of the UK economy.
“British tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than £130bn to our economy every year,” May is expected to say.
“But if we are going to maintain our position as a global leader, our challenge is how we develop British tech and make it even better. We want this to be the place everyone thinks of – and comes to – first when they want to develop their world changing tech ideas.”
Read more: UK startups break venture capital records at $4.8bn in five months
Software firm VMware will lead the pack with an investment of £1bn over the next five years, while Markley Group will enter the UK market by building a £150m data centre and creating 200 new jobs.
The government will provide £153m, with an additional £205m pledged by industry, to support research and development of quantum technologies.
“Our excitement about the UK technology sector is strong,” said Suzanne Ashman, a partner at London venture capital firm Localglobe, one of Europe’s top so-called unicorn-hunters.
“Ambitious entrepreneurs no longer have to leave this island and head to the US to build the company of their dreams. The UK’s commitment to science, research and deep tech is already starting to pay off but the big benefits are still to come, as we develop global authority in the fields of artificial intelligence and deep tech.”