Another year in the thriving UK tech sector has come and gone, and despite uncertainties that continue to linger within the current political climate, it was once more a hugely successful year for the country’s technology industry.
Whether it be the enormous fundraising success of VR firm Improbable, or the continued prosperity of the FinTech sector, British startups are showcasing strength and innovation on a global scale, and we can be confident 2018 will offer more of the same.
Despite concerns around the Brexit negotiations, growth in key tech verticals has been on the rise. The FinTech investment market has looked particularly healthy, with recent data from London & Partners and Pitchbook showing that as of October more than £760m of VC funding had been ploughed into the UK tech firms disrupting the finance sector, indicating a scale of investment that is set to break new records.
There are no signs of this trend in the FinTech sphere coming to an end, and in the new year we will likely see one or two very high profile FinTech IPOs on the London Stock Exchange, which is set to cement the vertical as the jewel in the crown of UK tech.
In addition, 2018 will also bring greater recognition and market attention for new and exciting verticals that are emerging alongside established areas. CreativeTech, RetailTech, DeepTech, FoodTech and InsurTech are all on the rise, and innovation in these new spheres is set to attract considerable investor attention in the coming year.
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With so many thriving areas within the tech industry, we must ensure that investment opportunities are available to the British entrepreneurs whose spirit of innovation and ambition is vital for the growth of the country’s economy.
As referenced in the recent Autumn Budget announcement, the British Business Bank will play an increasingly important role in the investment landscape of 2018, particularly as it becomes clear the European Investment Fund has closed its funding tap.
The government needs to ensure that their words lead to actions, and that a public body is prepared to step in to fill the investment gap. As evidence by the recent Atomico report, the levels of investment flowing into the UK remain extremely high, and the public sector cannot allow for the country to slip up in an area that serves as the lifeblood of a booming industry.
While investment is set to break new grounds in 2018, the UK tech space will continue to struggle with the talent gap. What the new year is likely to bring in order to help address the issue, is the government’s support for the expansion of the Tier 2 visa for skilled migrants.
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It will be these sorts of pragmatic and proactive initiatives from government leaders that will help both sustain the flow of top talent into the country, while also inviting new waves of tech professionals to boost the sector further.
UK’s place in the world
The investment levels and growth of the various verticals indicate that the UK remains a world-class tech hub.
Together with the US and China we are in a league of our own as tech ecosystems, and 2018 is set to place Britain at a unique point of intersection between the two tech giants, particularly in the sphere of DeepTech.
Our academic institutions fuel our word-beating innovation in AI and machine learning, and we have successfully built on our source of talent with the best networking opportunities in the field.
Britain’s tech sector remains a world leader and our enduring strength is clear to see. At a time of immense economic uncertainty, a blossoming tech industry can be a source of optimism and encouragement for the new year.
UK tech has managed to reach new heights on an annual basis, and whether it be cross-vertical growth, or access to talent and capital, there are clear signs 2018 could be the best year yet.