1. Business

UK tech investment outpaced US and China in 2019, study says

London’s iconic monetary district Canary Wharf.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg by way of Getty Images

Investment in the U.K.’s know-how sector grew at a quicker tempo than in the U.S. and China final yr, in accordance with new analysis launched Wednesday.

Venture capital funding for British start-ups grew 44% to a file $13.2 billion in 2019, a report ready for the federal government by business group Tech Nation and analysis agency Dealroom stated.

By distinction, Dealroom’s figures present that investment in U.S. and Chinese tech corporations really slowed from January to December, with the U.S. seeing a 20% decline and China a steeper fall of 65%. The U.S. and China nonetheless got here out on prime in phrases of complete deal worth, nonetheless, attracting $116 billion and $33.5 billion respectively.

The stats confirmed that almost half of the whole quantity invested in U.K. tech got here from U.S. and Asian buyers. Last yr, international buyers flocked to the U.K. and Europe in search of cheaper valuations amid rising curiosity in burgeoning areas like fintech. Start-ups like challenger financial institution Monzo and on-line funds agency Klarna attracted large nine-figure offers led by U.S. buyers.

But fintech wasn’t the one sector seeing important progress. Emerging industries like synthetic intelligence, so-called “deep tech” and clear vitality additionally noticed large inflows. Health agency Benevolent AI raised $90 million and digital actuality firm Melody raised $60 million, whereas in vitality Ovo raised $260 million from buyers.

“The U.K. and Europe quite frankly have over the last 20 years mainly seen on the sidelines of the global tech economy,” Saul Klein, co-founder of early stage enterprise fund LocalGlobe, instructed web in an interview. “It’s taken about 20 years to get here and the data now supports that the U.K. is a major global tech player.”

What’s behind the expansion of UK tech?

Britain accounted for a 3rd of the virtually $40 billion injected into European tech corporations final yr, in accordance with Dealroom information. But that is to not say nations throughout the continent have not additionally skilled important progress. Investment in German start-ups grew 41% to $7 billion in 2019 whereas French tech investment grew 37% to $5.2 billion.

Still, Britain’s complete deal quantity far outstripped that of its continental rivals with $13.2 billion invested in the nation’s tech start-ups.

“The most attractive thing about investing in Britain is the package,” Matt Warman, digital minister for the U.K., instructed web. He stated the U.K. had a supportive enterprise surroundings, geography and language in addition to a number of the world’s prime colleges to thank for the expansion of its tech sector.

It’s additionally value noting that the booming curiosity in British tech corporations got here in opposition to a backdrop of a U.S.-China commerce rift that has dragged in the tech business. U.K. officers are set to determine later this month on whether or not to permit Huawei entry to its 5G networks, an important choice which has been clouded by U.S. lobbying efforts to dam the Chinese tech large.

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