UK tech sector on course for record year of investment says Dealroom and Tech Nation

Oxford Nanopore, one of the UK's big tech success stories
Nanopore, UK. September 2017

The UK’s tech sector is on course for a record year of investment after a flurry of megarounds sent venture capital investment soaring to $18B in the first six months of the year. UK investment figures surpassed the full year 2020 total in the first week on June, and grew 2.8 times year on year in H1 according to a new report by Dealroom in partnership with Tech Nation and the UK’s Digital Economy Council ahead of London Tech Week, demonstrates the UK’s continued strong growth in venture capital and startup value, even as a mature tech ecosystem.

The UK tech industry has raised $18B in the first half of the year, almost three times what was invested in first six months of 2020. More than half of all investment in the UK now comes from megarounds of more than $100M and 20 new unicorns were created in 2021, compared with the 24 years it took to create the first 20.

And while London is Europe’s leading tech hub, venture capital, value creation, unicorns and number of startups, the UK is also home to a number of significant tech hubs that can compete with other leading European tech hubs in their own right, cities like Oxford, Bristol, Manchester and Cambridge.

The combined value of UK tech companies founded since 2000 is now $592 billion. The UK’s single largest tech company is currently banking app Revolut, at $33B. 2021 has also been a year in which large numbers of home-grown tech companies have listed on the London markets, including Deliveroo, Darktrace and Wise, London’s largest-ever tech listing.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “It’s fantastic news that UK tech firms are enjoying a record-breaking year, with new startups launching to tackle challenges posed by the pandemic and established scaleups cementing their world-class status in cities across the country. I will continue to push a pro-tech agenda and work tirelessly to help these businesses grow and thrive as we build back better.”

Gerard Grech, founding Chief Executive, Tech Nation, said: “The UK tech industry is on course for another record high in terms of investment in 2021. The success of established companies like Wise, Darktrace and Depop show there is a clear pathway for UK tech companies to make an impact on a global scale, and at Tech Nation we will continue to support entrepreneurs and startup founders as they grow their businesses from first investment cheque all the way to IPO.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice President EMEA, Facebook and member of Digital Economy Council, said: “The UK tech sector is fast maturing and the country now has leadership status alongside Silicon Valley and China. This is an exciting time to be part of this industry and we should be encouraging talented young people to understand that the best careers of the future can be found in those companies that are creating innovative products and services that help businesses and individuals.”

Julia Hawkins, general partner at venture capital company LocalGlobe, said: “The UK’s strengths in biotech and healthtech are starting to be recognised and investment is flowing into this sector where we already have world-leading intellectual property. The challenge now is to bring these companies to scale.”

Rana Yared, general partner at Balderton Capital, said: “The UK is home to one of the most diverse and vibrant tech industries in the world. Entrepreneurs launching new companies today have some great models to learn from, including companies like The Hut Group, Zego, and Depop. Uniquely to the UK, multiple tech hubs have thrived outside of London, such as Cambridge. Manchester, and Oxford, demonstrating the transformative power of technology.”