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Startup innovators make UK tech the jewel in European crown

UK tech startups

The UK is a nation of inventors. From the telephone to light bulbs, cats’ eyes and most recently vaccine development, innovation is in our DNA. We can look back on a strong track record of changing the world by disrupting the status quo.

Looking ahead to the challenges facing the world during the recovery from the global pandemic, the levelling up agenda and climate change, innovation and disruption will be central in our response. Technology will have a key role to play.

Over the last couple of decades, the UK has nurtured a growing ecosystem of outstanding tech founders and is now a world-leading tech innovation centre. According to government figures, last year saw more money than ever flowing into UK tech – £29.4bn, more than double that of 2020.

UK tech is the jewel in the European crown, with investment into our home-grown tech entrepreneurs and startups accounting for a third of the £89.5bn that flowed into the European tech ecosystem last year.

The huge attractiveness of UK tech to VC investors has continued this year. KPMG’s most recent Venture Pulse report shows 745 deals completed in the first three months of 2022, raising over £6.9bn ($9bn), across hot sectors including fintech, healthtech and ecommerce. This nearly equals the investment seen in both Germany and France combined.

With 41 unicorns created in the UK in 2021, there is no doubt that the UK has created an environment where you can build a multi-billion-pound tech business that can thrive. We have all the ingredients to become the leading tech ecosystem in the world, with first-class universities, a leading finance centre and high levels of R&D.

But our real power lies in the diversity of our tech hubs throughout the UK.

UK draws strength from regional tech hubs

The diversity of the UK scaleup ecosystem and our ability to nurture growing networks in cities up and down the country is playing a growing role in our success in attracting global VC investment. We are increasingly seeing investments being made in key hubs such as the Midlands, North and Scotland in addition to the powerhouse of London.

KPMG’s 2021 Venture Pulse report found that over £8.1bn was invested in regions across the UK in 2021. VC investment in UK innovators based outside of London has more than doubled since the pandemic (+59% from £3.3bn invested in 2019).

The UK’s network of tech excellence, which is emerging right across the country through entrepreneurship, is driving new job and wealth creation. It’s important that we continue to nurture fast-growth businesses as a key part of our levelling up agenda to help regions develop their own infrastructure to support growth, investment, and employment.

Championing, supporting and celebrating our army of tech entrepreneurs across the country is central to KPMG’s annual competition to uncover future tech titans from across the UK who will go on to represent the best of British on the global stage.

KPMG searches for Britain’s next tech titans

Our search for standout UK tech innovators is now in its ninth year and has seen previous winners such as Echo Healthcare, What3Words and FIDO Tech go on to achieve global success and investment.

The competition is open to scaleup businesses from early-stage to accelerated growth, who are being invited to pitch their innovations and present their growth ambitions to panels of local and global industry experts. Initial heats will take place regionally to find a final shortlist of innovators – representing the best from across the UK.

Participants will have the opportunity to be recognised as one of the UK’s most successful technology innovators and have access to networking opportunities among industry experts, their peers and other tech innovators. The Tech Innovator in the UK winner, and the winner in each of the other participating countries, will progress to the Global Tech Innovator final at Web Summit 2022, where they will compete on the global stage.

Applications are now open, so if you are a tech titan of the future we would love to hear from you KPMG Private Enterprise Tech Innovator – KPMG United Kingdom.

From Edinburgh to Cambridge, tech and innovation is unlocking plenty of opportunities and growth across the country. By supporting innovation and disruption across the UK, and helping founders to seize the opportunities that the innovation economy will bring, the UK could be in the vanguard of the response to the future challenges the world faces.

Warren Middleton is lead partner for the Emerging Giant Centre of Excellence at KPMG in the UK, a dedicated practice that works with fast-growth businesses across the UK.

This content is part of a paid partnership with KPMG.