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UK has generated more unicorns (companies valued over $1 billion) than France and Germany combined

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The UK is a hotbed of innovation and only the third country in the world to have its tech sector valued at $1+ trillion, alongside the United States and China.

Britain has generated more unicorn companies than France and Germany combined, with particular strengths in artificial intelligence, fintech, health and biotech.

In 2023, the Conservative Government unveiled a bold plan to cement the UK’s place as a global science and technology superpower by 2030, investing over £370 million in government funding to boost infrastructure, investment and skills for key growth technologies, including quantum, supercomputing and AI.

UK startups have long been an attractive opportunity for investors, owing in large part to the country’s impressive pool of talent, world-renowned universities with top research and development capabilities, proximity to Europe’s financial capital in London and a progressive, agile regulatory environment.

London alone attracted over $20 billion in VC investment in 2022. The U.K. is also home to 12 decacorns and remains in the top three in the world for unicorns across every key tech sector, despite being geographically 40x smaller than the US and China.

Saul Klein, co-founder and managing partner at Phoenix Court, home to LocalGlobe, Latitude, Basecamp and Solar, said:

“Over the past 20 years, the U.K. has become one of the leading tech ecosystems in the world, producing stellar companies such as DeepMind, Wise and Monzo. It’s been incredible to witness this shift and to see the impact that U.K.-born tech has had in Europe, the US and beyond. To continue this success, we need specialist knowledge and scalable capital to support the next generation of impactful founders.”

The term unicorn was first coined 10 years ago by Cowboy Ventures’ Aileen Lee, when 39 companies were identified as unicorns, or companies valued at $1 billion or more. Though the number of unicorns worldwide has increased to over 1,000, unicorns still represent less than 1% of all venture-backed startups.

Oliver Kent-Braham, co-founder and co-CEO of disruptive insurance carrier Marshmallow said:

“We attribute much of our company’s success to the collaborative spirit and access to capital we have enjoyed in the U.K.

“We successfully built our company on supporting expats who come to the U.K. and need a fair deal on car insurance. There’s a correlation to be made with US investment opportunities—there is a fantastic option to support incredible innovation from startups that may not be US-based but who have the potential to make a significant impact on markets around the world.”

Fintech continues to be a strong sector for UK startups, ranking second in the world for the number of unicorns in the industry, including Wise, Revolut and Starling Bank. The country’s leading fintech unicorns have gone on to spawn nearly 100 additional startups from current or former employees, creating a virtual circle of innovation and tech leadership.

Anne Boden MBE, founder and non-executive director at Starling Bank, said:

“Achieving unicorn status not only underscores our relentless commitment to innovation but also highlights the tremendous potential of technology in the U.K. Starling Bank is proud to lead the charge in revolutionizing the financial landscape and to be featured in the Unicorn Kingdom campaign. We envision a future where cutting-edge solutions empower individuals and businesses alike, driving economic growth and prosperity for our nation.”

Find out more about Britain’s top unicorn companies here.

1 COMMENT

  1. The Times has bashed brexit every day since June 2016- so I was pleased to see the article today ‘You may hate brexit but its turned out WELL’

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