Investors plough £9bn into British tech funding in 2019, up nearly 50%

UK pulls ahead of closest rivals Germany and France as investment magnet, despite Brexit uncertainty

Investment in UK technology companies rose by nearly 50pc in 2019 to reach $11.12bn (£9.4bn) compared with $7.52bn last year.

This is more than double the amount invested in Britain’s two closest rivals, Germany and France, which raked in $5.9bn and $4.87bn respectively.

London continues to be the number one tech hub in Europe in terms of investment, followed by Berlin and Paris.

The capital is home to more than double the number of tech startups (2,747) that have received funding since 2015 compared with Paris (1,183) and Berlin (930).

However, three other UK cities – Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford – were in the top 20 tech hubs by funding amount in Europe, the highest number of any country.

>See also: UK’s 50 fastest-growing tech companies grow revenue by nearly 4,000pc

Last year, half of the investment which went into fintech across Europe went to UK-based companies.

The UK is now home to 29 tech companies valued at $1bn or more – the fabled unicorns — compared with 25 in 2018. By comparison Germany has 17 VC-backed unicorns and France, 11.

The number of UK deals nudged upwards to 1,303 in 2019 compared with 1,130 in 2018, reflecting the maturity of the market as investors put more money into larger funding rounds.

Given how competitive the search for talent in Britain has become, it is not surprising that the percentage of hard-to-fill software engineering vacancies on Indeed increased by 10pc in the UK, whereas it fell by 12pc in Germany, Europe’s second-largest tech ecosystem.

>See also: UK fintechs raise on average £20m each in 2019, up one-third since 2017

Europe on track to raise record $30bn in tech funding

Overall, a record $34.3bn was ploughed into European tech startups in 2019, according to the new report from venture capital firm Atomico in partnership with Slush and Orrick. This compares with £25bn the year before.

Europe is on track to bust through the $110bn in capital invested since 2015 milestone.

Europe is home to 174 unicorns with valuations of $1bn or more compared with 154 in 2018. Compare this to 2010, when there were just 13 of these $1bn+ tech unicorns in Europe.

European tech policy a mystery to founders

The EU’s tech policy continues to be a mystery to European founders. Four in 10 founders and startup employees said they did not know what the European Commission’s priority was in terms of tech policy.

Europe’s parliamentarians ignore areas like fintech and digital health, despite investors pouring a combined €12.7bn into them last year.

Yet despite this lack of awareness, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is seen as the person who had the most influence on European tech in 2019, good or bad.

Report author Tom Wehmeirer, head of insights at Atomico, said: “Europe has a window of opportunity and policymakers have a big role to play. Too many founders are still in the dark about the European policy vision for technology.”

Further reading on tech funding

Two thirds of young tech companies planning to raise investment

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