Thursday 21 November 2019 8:11 am

UK tech startups net a record £9bn to keep European crown

Investors have ploughed a record £9bn into British tech startups in 2019, according to figures that place the UK’s tech investment scene head and shoulders above the rest of Europe.

Tech companies have so far countred $11.1bn (£8.6bn) in venture capital this year, according to a report from VC firm Atomico today, a 48 per cent year-on-year increase.

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That is more than double its closest two competitors, Germany and France, which raked in $5.9m and $4.87m respectively.

The sum is also double the cash flowing into the UK’s tech scene at the time of 2016’s Brexit referendum, when the total hit $5.21bn.

London, Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol’s tech scenes received the lion’s share of VC money.

Atomico reconfirmed the UK’s status as Europe’s tech capital, with 2,747 tech startups raising funding since 2015, compared to its nearest rival, Paris, which counted 1,183. 

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However, the number of venture capital deals in the UK has fallen 17 per cent since 2016. But that number is still up since 2018 to stand at 1,300 for the year so far.

Across Europe, over a third of fundraising came from deals worth over $100m.

Tom Wehmeier, an Atomico partner who authored today’s report, said: “European tech continues to be a bright spot in the global economy despite a media focus on turbulence in markets and tech this year. Europe’s economy may not be immune, but its technology companies have continued to break records in the past 12 months.”

“There’s a deep pool of talent, more than 150 billion-dollar tech companies have now been built from Europe, and record levels of support from institutional investors.”

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The report found that at least 174 European tech firms have now scaled to become unicorns – firms with a valuation of over $1bn.

Almost half of those have reached that size without VC money, but the latest trend shows that almost all startups now rely on VC money as the venture capital base has matured.

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