Tech startups attract record $6.7bn in foreign investment

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British tech companies have attracted more foreign investment in the past seven months than in the whole of 2018, racking up $6.7bn (£5.5bn) in funding.

More than half of that amount came from US and Asian investors. As such, the UK is now receiving more non-domestic capital, per capita, than the US, according to data released today by Tech Nation and Dealroom for the government’s Digital Economy Council.

Stellar rounds for billion-dollar companies such as Checkout, Deliveroo and Oaknorth helped to boost the sector to attract an average of $1bn per month from both foreign and domestic investors – one and a half times the average amount raised each month last year.

At the current rate, it is predicted the UK will exceed $11bn in investment by the end of 2019, far surpassing 2017’s record of $9.4bn and the $8.7bn raised last year.

A surge in higher-value deals – rounds of $100m or more – led to the second quarter also breaking the previous quarterly record by more than $1bn.

The total amount injected into British technology by US and Asian investors since 2013 has now reached $14.6bn, compared to $6.5bn and $2.5bn for German and French startups respectively. In London, the amount of deals this year involving a foreign investor reached a staggering 92 per cent.

Separately, the top 30 companies that have received the most foreign investment in the past three years – which includes Starling Bank, Skyscanner and Darktrace – have collectively created more than 5,000 new positions.

The number of additional roles created by the top 30 firms has risen 61 per cent in the last two years. By July 2019, a combined 15,000 roles have been added to the tech sector with a total of 2.1m in the digital industry across the UK.

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan said the figures “endorse our reputation as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a digital business”.

“Investment in the UK tech sector has been steadily rising for years and as these latest figures demonstrate, the momentum is increasing,” said Eileen Burbidge, chair of Tech Nation and founding partner of Passion Capital, which was an early investor in Monzo.

“The fact that this is growing is a testament to the strength and depth or our entrepreneurial talent, coupled with the dynamic and deeply engaged ecosystem that has been established here in the UK.”

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