In 2022, the UK became only the third country in the world to have its tech sector valued at one trillion dollars, making it a tech superpower alongside the US and China.
A campaign designed to promote the UK’s thriving tech sector to American entrepreneurs and investors has been launched in Silicon Valley.
To date, 162 ‘tech Unicorns’ – private start-ups which are valued at more than $1bn – have been started in the UK, more than the total number in Germany, France and Sweden combined.
Yet government research suggests that many of Silicon Valley’s top tech entrepreneurs and investors are still not aware of the UK’s world-leading strengths in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), fintech and medical technology.
GREAT, the government flagship marketing programme, has taken steps to address this by launching its ‘Unicorn Kingdom’ campaign, which promotes the UK as a place with all the right ingredients to breed new tech unicorns and aims to drive international investment, grow the economy and create jobs across the UK.
The campaign launched with billboards in San Francisco promoting the UK sector’s scale ($1trillion), agile regulation and world-class talent. The campaign also includes targeted LinkedIn and digital display ads and a content partnership with TechCrunch, with promotional videos narrated by Stephen Fry.
The campaign is being supported by multiple UK tech unicorns including Darktrace, Deepmind, Revolut, and Matillion – and is the latest in a number of recent actions from the government which demonstrates its strong support for UK tech.
This includes the establishment of the new Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, the launch of the International Tech Strategy, the upcoming AI Whitepaper and the Government’s commitment to provide £20 billion of funding to research and development by 2024-25 – the highest ever level of public support for UK researchers and innovators.
The next stage of the campaign will see leaders from the US tech sector invited to the UK for London Tech week, to see the benefits of working in the UK first-hand.
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said:
“The UK has all the right ingredients for tech companies to thrive. But we’ll keep working hard to foster the right conditions for the tech sector, so that it can continue to deliver on my priority to grow the economy and create jobs right across the UK.”
Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden, said:
“The UK tech sector is a wonderful success story. Only three countries in the world are in the trillion-dollar tech club – and we’re one of them. We’re home to some of the brightest minds and best universities, and our doors are open to any tech entrepreneur who wants to start the next Deepmind or Deliveroo.”
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:
“The UK has one of the top tech sectors in the world with a valuation of more than a trillion dollars. It’s diverse, resilient, and continues to grow at a rapid pace with the most venture capital investment in Europe. The goal of this campaign is to attract as much collaboration and investment as we can from Silicon Valley.
“The formation of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, shows Investors and entrepreneurs that the UK is more dedicated than ever to forming a tech sector that is pro-innovation, pro-talent and pro-growth. Our commitment for R&D spending to be £20 billion a year by 2024 drives forward the government’s ambitions for the UK to be a science and tech superpower.”
As well as the promotional campaign, business leaders from across Silicon Valley were invited to a special reception to promote the UK tech sector in San Francisco.
At the event, they met the leaders of tech companies from across the UK as well as senior government officials, who explained to them the UK’s place at the centre of the tech world and the benefits of investing in the country.
Matthew Scullion, CEO and founder of Manchester-based tech company, Matillion, said:
“In the UK, we really have all the ingredients required for building consequential companies. We have brilliant grassroots engineering skills from our very strong university ecosystem. We have skills, we have capital, and we have a great environment for starting and building businesses.”
Further activities will also be carried out in the UK during London Tech Week in June, when leaders from the tech sector in America will be invited to the country to see the benefits of working in the UK.
Photo credit: Patrick Nouhailler
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