British tech firms brought in more funding from venture capital firms than any other country in Europe in 2018, as well as achieving the highest amount of exits.
Startups in the UK attracted £6.3bn in venture backing this year, according to new figures released today by Tech Nation and Dealroom. In the same period, the UK produced sales, IPOs and mergers worth $40bn (£31.5bn), placing higher than every other country in Europe.
It even beat Sweden to the top spot, which had the largest exit of the year with Spotify’s IPO in April at $29bn.
Britain has consistenly placed as the biggest source of sucessful company exits in Europe for the past five years, worth a total of $119bn since 2013. Landmark exits this year included luxury retailer Farfetch, online property group Zoopla and Sky Betting & Gaming.
CMC Markets analyst David Madden said the figures were evidence that the tech sector is relatively “Brexit-proof”, given London’s status as “a deep pool of talent and capital”.
“It just goes to show the unique strengths of the London venture capital market that technical innovation continues to lead the way in Europe,” added chief analyst Michael Hewson. “I would fully expect this to continue in 2019, even assuming a rather rocky Brexit outcome.”
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, predicted that artificial intelligence will come to the forefront of the sector in 2019.
“The downside is that this may increase the impact of disruption on jobs,” Shaw added.
“The UK high street will come under increasing pressure in 2019 – more individuals will need to seek ways to build their digital skills from general to more advanced, to ensure they remain employable in the future.”
Fintech has also had a standout year, thanks to stellar raises in 2018 from banking startups Monzo, Oaknorth and Revolut. Charlotte Crosswell, chair of industry trade body Innovate Finance, said this would only continue if UK firms make diversity a higher priority in the coming years.
“This is no longer an act of simple awareness building or garnering high-level support at board level,” she concluded.
“The dialogue has shifted and we need to ensure change happens quickly.”