‘UK second biggest investor in European startups last year’


Some 21% of the $26bn invested in European startups last year came from global investors operating out of the UK.

According to new research prepared for Tech Nation and the government’s Digital Economy Council by Dealroom.co, the UK was the second biggest investor in European startups last year. The US topped the ranking. 

The research is being released ahead of Margot James’s appearance at Web Summit, which is taking place in Lisbon this week. The Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries is expected to champion the UK’s technology sector and its desire to continue forging strong links with the Continent.

Figures show that UK-based investors made 1,365 investments in Europe in 2017, representing 21% of capital.

US investors, who typically invest at later stage, made 1,067 separate investments in 2017, representing 25% of the total capital invested in Europe.

Of the $26bn invested in tech startups from Europe and Israel in 2017, roughly 21% ($4.8bn) came from UK investors.

Investors in France contributed 10% ($2.3bn) and investors in Germany contributed 8% ($1.9bn). Approximately 25% of total UK venture capital investment went to non-domestic startups across Europe.

UK-based investors were also the most active European investors across funding rounds of all sizes in 2017.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “The UK is a haven for tech investment, with stellar investors helping to spread success across the country and bringing new jobs, wealth and improvements in productivity.

“UK-based investors also play a vital role supporting entrepreneurs and startups around the world, including in Europe where they are helping to spark new innovations that will improve how we live, work and interact every day.

“As we forge a new future outside the EU, we are determined to remain at the forefront of the continent’s technology sector and become the best place in the world to start and grow a digital  business.”

Gerard Grech, chief executive Tech Nation, went on to comment: “These figures demonstrate that the UK is the financial heart of Europe’s technology sector. Investors base themselves here in the UK not only because of our thriving startup scene, but because of the unique depth and breadth of experience in funding and building tech business ventures successfully.

“In 2019 our relationship with Europe will shift into a new gear, but these figures show that our connections across the continent are strong and that the leadership we provide in European technology provides a great base from which to grow and expand our global leadership in the digital tech sector.”

Eileen Burbidge, founder of Passion Capital and chair of Tech Nation, concluded: “The digital tech sector is a global industry, and UK investors enjoy access to the best in European tech sector, as well as strong relationships with the US, Asia and other parts of the world. These figures show that the UK will continue to have a strong ongoing relationship with companies in multiple tech hubs on the continent and worldwide.”

A look at the UK

Research from Dealroom.co published last month, showed that the UK has created a total of 60 tech unicorns, 35% of the total 168 $1bn companies in Europe.

The research also showed that the UK’s digital tech success is rapidly spreading across the country with six UK cities having at least two digital tech companies worth more than a $1bn.

According to the data, Oxford and Cambridge together have produced nine such companies, while Manchester is the base for five.