The UK’s tech sector has retained its place as Europe’s leading ecosystem and the third-largest after the United States and China.

Against a global backdrop of difficult economic conditions, figures from Dealroom for the Digital Economy Council showed that during 2022, UK tech companies have continued to raise at near-record levels (£24 billion), more than France (£11.8bn) and Germany (£9.1bn) combined. 

This takes the total raised over the past five years to £97bn.

The UK’s tech ecosystem now employs three million people and is worth a combined $1 trillion in value. By contrast, Germany’s is valued at $467.2bn and France’s at $307.5bn.

The UK has more high-growth companies than European peers, having created 144 unicorns (worth more than $1bn), 237 ‘futurecorns’ and over 85,000 startups and scaleups. The figures are up from 116 unicorns and 204 futurecorns at this time last year.

Innovation is spread out across the country with eight cities now home to two unicorn companies or more including Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford. These high-growth businesses are using decades worth of science and tech research and development to revolutionise areas such as finance, sustainable travel, health research and electronic device development.

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Cambridge was recently named the number one university in the world for producing successful tech founders ahead of the likes of Harvard and MIT – with over 500 alumni founders raising more than $10 million in funding. 

Oxford came third with 410. Bristol (173), Nottingham (100) and London (98) all made it into the top 20, thanks to their deep tech and science focuses.

US investors including General Catalyst, Sequoia and Lightspeed have increased their teams in the UK in 2022 after opening new offices here last year; global firm New Enterprise Associates hired its first UK-based partner in October; and European investor Earlybird VC also opened an office in London. 

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UK-based funds have collectively raised £9.2bn this year, up from £9bn at the same time in 2021.

“UK tech has remained resilient in the face of global challenges and we have ended the year as one of the world’s leading destinations for digital businesses,” said Digital Minister Paul Scully. 

“This is good news and reflects our pro-innovation approach to tech regulation, continuing support for start-ups and ambition to boost people’s digital skills.”

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