Tuesday 23 October 2018 12:53 am

The UK extends its lead as Europe's established tech unicorn capital


London has cemented its standing as the capital of Europe’s billion-dollar technology startups, as surrounding cities help to push the UK forward while its companies expand internationally.

New figures released today show the UK has now created 60 so-called unicorn startups – companies with a valuation of $1bn (£769.6m) or more – since 1990, according to research prepared for Tech Nation and the government’s Digital Economy Council by Dealroom.

London houses 36 of those UK startups, representing more than a fifth of all unicorns in Europe at a total valuation of $132bn. In comparison, Berlin holds the second biggest city spot with just eight unicorn startups, worth $32bn.

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Meanwhile other UK cities are also rapidly accelerating their climb up the list, as Oxford and Cambridge combined have produced more fast-growing tech startups, such as Darktrace and Arm, than Paris and Berlin.

More than 40 of the UK’s 60 unicorn firms have gone on to achieve realised valuations through successful exits, including most recently the listings of Farfetch and Funding Circle. So far in 2018, UK tech companies have raised almost £3bn on London Stock Exchange markets. The country has added nine new unicorns to its roster, the same amount as Germany, the Netherlands and France combined.

Read more: UK startups hold onto Europe's venture crown with £1.4bn in funding

Digital secretary Jeremy Wright said today’s figures show the UK’s track record in creating stellar tech startups is "second to none in Europe", while London mayor Sadiq Khan added: "When London succeeds, the whole country benefits."

David Richards, founder and chief executive of WANdisco, said: "There’s never been a better time to be involved in UK tech, with so many great companies coming through the pipeline.

"From my perspective in the US, I can see that people are really starting to wake up to and respond to Europe’s potential and in a very short time the UK has made itself the clear leader of a vibrant, technology network based on great science and entrepreneurship."