The UK has once again topped European league tables for venture capital investment in 2018, according to new figures from analytics company Dealroom and Tech Nation.
Britain’s tech sector attracted £6.3 billion ($7.9bn) in funding from investors during 2018, ahead of Germany ($4.6bn), France ($4.4bn) and Israel ($3.4bn).
It also achieved tech exits – including IPOs and acquisitions – worth $40 billion, ahead of every other country in Europe including Sweden.
Tech Nation’s CEO Gerard Grech described 2018 as “another great year for the UK digital tech sector”.
“Businesses that were started here are scaling to become global success stories, as the level of large funding rounds and successful IPOs demonstrates,” he added.
Over the last five years, the UK has emerged as the biggest source of successful company exits in Europe with sales and IPOs worth $119 billion since 2013.
During 2018, landmark exits included online luxury retailer Farfetch and gene therapy company Orchard Therapeutics, which both floated in New York.
Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, floated in London and there were significant tech sales including property portal Zoopla’s $3 billion sale to US venture capital group Silver Lake.
Figures from Tech Nation confirm the UK’s tech sector continued to make a strong contribution to the economy in 2018, with 75 per cent higher productivity in UK tech compared to the whole of the UK economy and people working in jobs requiring digital skills are on average paid £10,000 more than non-digital roles.
Digital secretary Jeremy Wright said: “These brilliant statistics round off another bumper year of investment in our digital economy and show the UK is Europe’s undisputed tech hub.
“The success is thanks to our unique combination of talent, location and language, alongside our business friendly environment, unrivalled access to capital and world-leading universities.”
Analysis conducted this autumn showed that the UK now has six cities which have produced at least two unicorns. Outside London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge have all produced tech companies of growing significance.
Research also showed that the UK produced more unicorns ($1bn private companies) than any other in Europe, including mobile-only digital bank Monzo and cyber security software firm Darktrace.
Eileen Burbidge, co-founder and partner at Passion Capital and chair of Tech Nation, said: “The UK tech sector has continued to attract hefty venture capital investment during 2018, reflecting its success and strengths.
“The fact that the UK is leading in Europe on exits will come as no surprise to those who have been watching UK companies grow in stature over the last few years, and particularly in fintech which the UK does genuinely lead the world.”