The UK is the clear European winner for venture capital tech investment with only the US, China and India receiving more investment globally.
In 2021 London tech startups raised a record £18.55 billion, making it the highest city for VC investment in Europe and fourth-highest city globally.
Across the UK, £29.4 billion was raised by British startups and scale-ups in 2021. This is double the figure raised in Germany (£14.7 billion) and almost three times that raised by French companies (£9.7 billion).
UK tech investment accounted for a third of the total £89.5 billion that flowed into the European tech ecosystem in 2021.
London sits only behind three American cities – San Francisco, New York and Greater Boston for VC investment worldwide.
Eileen Burbidge, Partner at London VC firm, Passion Capital said:
“London and the rest of the UK’s tech sector continues to go from strength-to-strength and means that the UK is now competing on the global stage.
“It’s fantastic to see that London tech companies are attracting large volumes of capital across all stages of the funding journey as a sign that our tech ecosystem is truly flourishing and our entrepreneurs are second to none.”
Research by business growth agency London & Partners and startup data firm Dealroom shows that megarounds of $100m+ and high-profile exits helped propel London to the European top spot of VC investment rankings.
According to UK Tech News, last year also saw London create a record 20 unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion).
New British unicorns include digital car insurance company Marshmallow and Starling Bank.
It brings the total number of unicorns in London to 75, putting it once again in fourth place globally behind only San Francisco, New York and Boston.
The UK is now home to 115 unicorns, more than France (31) and Germany (56) combined.
Analysis from UK Tech News state there were a record 64 megarounds in 2021 – “a sign that London’s tech sector is maturing as such rounds typically take place in later-stage scaleups.”
Among the largest London tech raises in 2021 were the $800m raised by fintech Revolut and $900m for clean energy supplier Octopus Energy.
London fintechs attracted the largest amount of capital – $11.6bn – but there was strong growth for telecoms, health and impact tech startups in 2021.
Russ Shaw CBE, Founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates told UK Tech News:
“These record figures mark a significant moment for London, and a milestone in the UK’s growth as a world-leading tech nation.
“Our tech sector now sits alongside the US, China and India in defining the growth and impact of the global tech industry.”
With more money than ever flowing into UK tech – £29.4 billion in 2021, up 2.3x from 2020’s figures of £11.5 billion – almost £9 billion of all VC invested went into startups and scaleups outside of London and the South East. The regions are also home to nine of the 29 unicorns formed last year.
The combined value of UK tech companies founded since 2000 is now £540 billion, after the biggest year-on-year increase since 2013/14.
Cambridge is the leading regional tech city in the UK thanks to its combination of high levels of VC funding, venture capital rounds, advertised tech salaries, number of unicorns and futurecorns, according to new analysis for the UK’s Digital Economy Council by Dealroom and the smarter job search engine Adzuna.
Manchester was only narrowly beaten by Cambridge to the number two position, and Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are also in the top ten for capital raised, showing how the tech sector has spread across all regions and countries in the United Kingdom.
Gerard Grech, founding Chief Executive, Tech Nation, said:
With such a record tech investment year, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the UK is very good at rearing and cultivating startups and scale-ups into successful global companies right across the UK, unlike its continental European neighbours, where it tends to be more in capital cities. A true network of digital excellence is emerging right across the country through entrepreneurship, driving new job and wealth creation. Tech Nation is committed to identifying and fueling the growth of these high-potential businesses through its programs and initiatives, removing geographic and financial barriers as quickly as possible.
UK Tech News analysts say “the upward trajectory looks set to continue in 2022, with US investors in particular expected to continue pouring VC cash into the UK tech startups.”