Monzo and Funding Circle help put UK in lead for tech investment
Britain’s tech sector saw more venture capital investment and stock market flotations in 2018 than any other European country, as the likes of Monzo and Funding Circle took centre stage.
UK tech companies attracted £2.49 billion in venture capital investment last year – far more than Germany in second place with £1.38 billion and France in third place with £1.03 billion, according to data from London & Partners and PitchBook.
High profile initial public offerings (IPOs) from the likes of online fashion firm Farfetch and peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle also ensured Britain took the crown for the most tech listings, at 17 throughout 2018.
Sweden was second with 10 tech IPOs, followed by France with eight and Germany with six.
The UK’s high investment levels are being driven by a surge in funding for emerging tech sectors such as Fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), cryptocurrency and blockchain, according to the research.
It found there was record investment in UK companies developing innovations in these areas last year.
The figures also showed London was by far the UK hub for investment, accounting for £1.8 billion or 72% of the country’s venture capital raised in 2018.
Tech businesses based in the capital are benefitting from access to almost double the amount of growth capital than other European cities, the research found.
Laura Citron, chief executive of London & Partners, said: “2018 was another great year for investment into London’s tech sector.
“With high levels of investment for growth sectors such as artificial intelligence, fintech and big data, our research shows that London is producing game-changing companies and ideas to change the world.”
The data shows investment into the UK’s AI sector peaked at £736 million in 2018, up 47% on the previous year.
Firms developing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology also saw record growth, securing more than £200 million in venture capital funding, up from £19.11 million in 2017.
And major deals, such as the £84 million funding round for challenger bank Monzo, saw £1.2 billion raised in total by British fintech firms.
Rajesh Agrawal, London’s deputy major for business, added: “These figures demonstrate that London is going from strength to strength as a global hub for technology, innovation and creativity.”
“Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, London will remain open to innovation, talent and investment from all over the world,” he added.