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UK built world climate tech attracts $1.1bn from VCs

built world climate tech Image credit: Virrage Images / Shutterstock

UK venture capital firms invested $1.1bn (£872m) in early-stage built world climate tech in 2023, the third-most in the world, according to new data.

The UK is behind only the US and Germany for early-stage built world climate tech investment, which attracted $5.6bn and $1.4bn from VCs respectively.

Built world climate tech refers to any human-made enclosures, spaces, structures and infrastructure created to adapt the natural environment into a habitable and usable area for living, working and recreating.

The new research, from built world investor A/O, found that the UK’s level of VC investment into the space grew significantly in 2023, rising by more than a quarter (27%) in a year when overall tech funding declined, while the US dropped by 32%.

However, the UK was leapfrogged by Germany into second place. The majority ($1bn) of UK investment was in London, which also came top for deal volume.

The UK’s ecosystem is concentrated in building to-grid solutions, which accounted for a fifth of the total deal count and over 40% of total investment.

This was in large part due to grid-scale battery installer Field Energy securing £100m in a July funding round.

Climate risk is also a high area for deal volume in the UK, accounting for a fifth of activity.

“The built world is not immune to the wider macroeconomic challenges in the tech and startup world in 2023,” said Gregory Dewerpe, founder and managing partner at A/O.

“However, climate themes have proven more resilient relative to the wider venture market, and within the built world specifically, we have observed both a more muted downturn and faster recovery.”

Dewerpe added that as we get closer to 2030, there is “increased pressure on global corporations to cut emissions and make progress on their net zero targets”.

“This new generation of built world companies will be there to help them solve this urgent problem.”

In July, A/O announced the first close of its latest green proptech fund which has backed UK startups such as Climate X, Satellite Vu and Residently.