Is the UK the world's hottest tech hub?
If I said ‘tech hub’, your mind would probably spring to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, or maybe Beijing, and understandably so. But there’s reason to believe that the UK is hot on the heels of these more famous cousins.
A report by Tech Nation and dealroom.co argues that the UK has become the world’s hottest tech hub.
First of all, investment in UK tech is skyrocketing. Venture capital invested into UK tech start-ups is 43% higher in 2019 compared with the same time period in 2018. Rounds above £100m are largely responsible for that trend, though rounds below £100m are also on the increase.
And, investment from US and Asian investors has almost doubled since 2018, reaching $3.5bn in the first half of 2019; more than the entirety of 2018 ($2.9bn).
Interest from Asian and US investors is visible throughout Europe, but is strongest in the UK. And since 2013, UK start-ups have raised more from US and Asian investors than most of Europe combined.
As a result, the funding mix in the UK has changed dramatically, with a larger proportion of its investment coming from Asia and the rest of the world, and less coming from domestic or European sources. It therefore benefits from a more diverse investor base, compared with France for example, which gets the majority of its investment from domestic or European markets.
Of the top three global tech hubs: UK, USA, and China – the UK attracts nearly as much non-domestic capital as China, despite being a fraction of the size. Also, as of 2019, it’s now ahead of the US on a per capita basis.
This investment from the US and Asia is, unsurprisingly, good news for the UK job market. The top 30 UK companies, who have raised the most capital from the US and Asia, including Deliveroo, Ovo Energy, Skyscanner, BrewDog and Secret Escapes, provide 10,000 more jobs today than in 2016, and their combined valuation has tripled from $15bn to $45bn.
If trends like these continue, the UK could become the leading tech hub in the world.