Investment surges into UK startups meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals

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UK” impact startups” – startups addressing one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – have raised €1.4 billion in 2020 – so far, with two Oxford companies securing some of the biggest investments.

The biggest rounds for UK impact startups in 2020 include electric vehicle company Arrival which has its UK manufacturing base in Banbury, Tokamak Energy (Abingdon), Octopus Energy (London), tech company Connexin (Hull), mental health care company Compass Pathways (London), London-based technology-enabled home care company Cera, battery tech Highview Power, FiveAI (Cambridge) and The Meatless Farm Company (Leeds).

The data has been revealed by the UK network for entrepreneurs, Tech Nation and Dealroom. the global data platform for intelligence on startups and high-growth companies , as they launch the Impact & Innovation database, which lists more than 390 jobs in UK impact startups that are currently hiring

Impact investing accounts for more than 15 per cent of total European venture capital investment, three times higher than a decade ago, and double the global average at seven per cent.

In 2020, the largest amounts of investment have so far gone to Octopus Energy and The Meatless Farm Company, with cleantech and climate tech companies raising the most capital of all UK impact startups.

Tech Nation and Dealroom’s Impact and Innovation database, catalogues 4,939 startups and scaleups, 7,472 funding rounds, and 232 exits of innovative companies addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.

George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation, said: “UK impact tech firms have come on leaps and bounds over the last six years – with nearly 10 times more investment made into groundbreaking companies in 2020 than 2014. UK tech must continue to play a key part in tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges, including  climate change. This revolution is happening right across the country.”

Climate tech startups, which includes electric vehicles, have attracted the most investment within the Impact sub-sector, with European players emerging as global market leaders. European companies working to tackle climate change and its impacts have attracted €9.8 billion in VC investment in the last five years.

Impact innovation startups are also fueling growth and job creation. Crucially, these startups are actively hiring, the Impact & Innovation database lists more than 2,100 jobs in impact startups that are currently hiring in Europe – over 390 of these are in the UK.

The Impact and Innovation platform will bring together startups, investors, non-profits, governments, and corporates in one open-access data-driven platform. The new mapping of the global impact and innovation ecosystem will facilitate data-driven policy and decision making, the sharing of cross-industry knowledge, and will foster the partnerships required to help next generation innovators succeed on the global stage.