Dealroom, which helps professional investors, corporates and local governments discover and track innovative tech companies, and Tech Nation, a national network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, have launched Data Commons for UK Tech, a national database which has revealed record first half venture capital investment of $4.8bn into UK tech companies.
The Data Commons, which shows digital tech economy activity across the entire UK, reveals that investment into Oxford-based tech companies broke new records in 2018 totalling £341 million ($433 million).
The innovation economy is thriving in every country and region of the UK, but a lack of comprehensive information on activity and emerging trends within the national ecosystem has been one of the factors inhibiting growth. By creating an inclusive data commons, Tech Nation and Dealroom want to provide a world-leading resource that can help Britain’s emerging technology companies to fulfil their potential.
The open database – which its backers hope will become an important resource for those who aspire to start a business, entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers – at launch contains information on 33,000 startups and 22,000 transactions, with details on thousands of investors and more.
The new Data Commons resource has been created to provide a complete view of the rapidly evolving innovation economy, right across the UK. It includes detailed information on individual technology businesses, founders, investors, VC funds, angels, accelerators, universities and service providers to the sector.
The database has the backing of government. Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “This timely initiative from Tech Nation and Dealroom is a world-first with the potential to spark a new wave of investment in the UK’s tech startups and help create new jobs and prosperity across the country.
“International and UK-based investors are pumping record amounts of cash into our thriving technology industry and, as they arrive in the capital for London Tech Week, this new tool will provide them with a rich new data source to inform their decisions.”
The organisation says it believes this is the most extensive free-to-use tech industry data platform in the UK, but wants to make it even better. It is calling new companies to tell them about their startup or scaleups, leet them know about let local accelerators.
Openness is key to the effectiveness of the project. The platform provides a secure space that allows members of the tech community to pool information that will benefit the wider community. In addition to analytics and other data provided by Dealroom, the database is enhanced by a broad range of third party submitted and user-generated content. All users will be invited and encouraged to upload relevant information, so that an already rich well of data will grow organically, providing an accurate picture of trends and activity within the tech startup scene.
Lesley Eccles, Serial Entrepreneur and Board Member at Tech Nation, said: “When you’re building a technology business, speed is vital. Having access to a high quality database of relevant investors, potential partners and service providers specialising in the tech space, means that UK tech companies will be able to make the right decisions more quickly. The Data Commons by Tech Nation and Dealroom provides the tools to make meaningful connections and informed decisions. This will ultimately help UK tech businesses connect locally to grow globally.”
George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation said: “Until now it has often been difficult for technology businesses to connect with others in their market or find partners, customers and investors. This has been a source of friction that is slowing down growth. The Data Commons for UK Tech provides a means to make connections that are meaningful to them in geographical terms. For example it could allow an angel investor to identify fast-growing businesses in their regions, or enabling a startup to make contact with a nearby co-working space or accelerator.”
The UK’s digital tech economy has thrived in recent years despite an uneven playing field in terms of information around the support ecosystem. Many successful startups – and a significant number of unicorns – are emerging in parts of the country that are not normally considered to be tech hotspots. However, coverage of the sector outside London is inconsistent.
Yoram Wijngaarde, CEO and Founder at Dealroom, said: “Dealroom was founded around a central mission to make discovery of promising companies easier for everyone, with a particular focus on startup ecosystems and investment opportunities. The Data Commons for UK Tech represents a special project for us. As a system that is open to all, we believe it will ensure that stakeholders in Britain’s innovation economy have the data and insights they require to make good decisions as well as encourage users to become part of a community in which data is shared for the good of everyone.”
By providing a national database that is searchable at local and regional levels, the Data Commons aims to redress imbalances of information. Thus an investor based in Scarborough or Weston-Super can search the local area for investment opportunities and a startup can use the system to identify the nearest, incubators, accelerators or investors. Tech Nation’s Entrepreneur Engagement Managers, who are on the ground across the UK, will work with emerging technology companies to encourage a flow of user-generated data.
Adam Hale, Board Member, Tech Nation, said: “I registered as soon as I saw this. Data like this is key to building a community of success in the UK which sits at the heart of Tech Nation’s mission. This data allows people to understand and navigate the community, informing them what to know and also who to know. It will highlight opportunities for partnership, collaboration, investment and even angels by area. For those based in the UK’s largest town, Reading and places like it, this kind of information allows us to compete globally.”