The UK is home to 72 unicorn companies (valued at $1 billion or more), with 13 having been created in the past year, according to statistics published by Tech Nation and Dealroom.co.
Skyscanner, Deliveroo and Revolut are among startup tech firms to become British unicorns in recent years. The release of the study follows swiftly on the heels of a pledge by global tech companies to invest more than £1.2bn in the UK.
Germany, the UK’s closest European, rival boasts 29 unicorn companies, while India has 26. Only the US and China outperform the UK in regards to fast-growing tech companies, standing at 703 and 206 respectively.
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Since January, investors have injected $5 billion (£3.9bn) into the British startup scene and, between 2013 and 2018, $35 billion (£27bn) has been invested in the UK’s technology sector. This has helped to cement the country’s status as Europe’s leading high-tech nation which is emphatically out-performing its European counterparts.
The study forecasts this trend will continue despite the current uncertain political climate, with the tech industry being viewed as more ‘Brexit-proof’ than other industries.
While London leads the charge, with 45 unicorns based in the capital – 18 of which are fintech companies – the rest of the UK fairs strongly and underlines the overall strength of the UK’s tech scene. Six cities outside of London are home to at least two tech unicorns, including Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Edinburgh.
Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech Nation, said: “These figures show the extent to which the UK digital tech sector is rivalling those in the US and China, after an incredibly strong year of investment backing for fast-growing UK companies so far. The UK’s digital tech sector continues to go from strength to strength with unicorns now being produced right across the country.”
Bryan Dove, CEO of Skyscanner, added: “It’s never been a more exciting time to be a technology company in the UK. We are seeing more and more great businesses and that’s a testament to the quality and diversity of talented people living and moving to the UK. While Skyscanner is a global company, our roots are in the UK with 60% of our team based between Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.
“We’re lucky to be part of a thriving tech community in each of these cities; cities which demonstrate the strength of the sector across the nation.”