Tech start-ups in London raise record $26bn in funding in 2021

Amount raised by London tech companies more than doubles year on year, bringing total tech unicorns to 75

Tech start-ups in London raised a record $26bn (£19bn) in funding last year, more than double the total in 2020.

Twenty London tech companies reached a valuation of more than $1bn last year, bringing the total number of “unicorns” to 75, with insuretech firm Marshmallow, SaaS company TrueLayer and fintech firm Starling Bank among the newest additions to the herd, according to a survey by London & Partners.

Funding rounds of more than $100m accounted for more than half of all fundraising, with rounds from fintech competitors Revolut and Monzo reaching more than $1.4bn combined.

>See also: UK tech investment accounts for one third of £76bn invested in Europe

Fintech remains one of the fastest-growing sectors in London, accounting for nearly half of investment last year, but the pandemic also attracted activity in telecoms, health tech and enterprise software, as the pandemic continued to drive remote working and communication.

London-based VC firms raised $9.9bn in new funds in 2021, providing record levels of dry powder to pump into the sector this year.

The capital saw a spate of major new London-based funds launching in 2021, including Index Ventures ($3.1bn), Balderton ($600m) and 83North ($550m).

The amount of cash pouring into London-based tech start-ups was reflected elsewhere in Europe, which received more than $115bn in venture capital, while worldwide $675bn was invested.

>See also: European technology investment busts $100bn threshold for first time

London ranked fourth globally for VC investment in 2021, trailing only the San Francisco Bay Area ($98.5bn), New York ($46.3bn) and Greater Boston ($28.3bn).

Laura Citron, CEO at London & Partners said: “London is now a truly mature global technology capital – we have big pools of later stage funding, nearly two new unicorn companies every month, and massive funding rounds and exits.

“This data shows that London is not only a brilliant place for entrepreneurs to start businesses, but also to grow them to a global scale.”

Eileen Burbidge, Partner at London VC firm, Passion Capital said: “London and the rest of the UK’s tech sector continues to go from strength-to-strength and means that the UK is now competing on the global stage.

“It’s fantastic to see that London tech companies are attracting large volumes of capital across all stages of the funding journey as a sign that our tech ecosystem is truly flourishing and our entrepreneurs are second to none.”

Further reading

US takeovers of British tech companies rise by 50% in 2021