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Edinburgh Tech Scene Helps Drive UK Success

Ross Kelly


UK Tech

Edinburgh is competing head-to-head with other European cities and playing a crucial role in driving the success of Britain’s technology sector.

The UK has created more tech unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion+) than Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands combined, according to new analysis from

The venture capital analytics company reports that the UK’s leading tech clusters are competing head-to-head with European capitals, with some UK cities far exceeding their European counterparts.

This latest research is published ahead of Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s first meeting with the Digital Economy Council on 24th October.

Head to Head

The report by compares the UK’s capital and regional cities with prominent technology hubs across Europe. In total, it suggests the UK has created 60 unicorns in total, which accounts for more than one-third (35%) of Europe and Israel’s 168 unicorns.

While the report compares Oxbridge to Paris; London with Berlin; and Manchester with Amsterdam, it also highlights Edinburgh’s growing reputation and position within both the UK and European tech sectors.

Scotland’s capital is one of six cities in the UK to have produced at least two unicorns; which include FanDuel and Skyscanner. In addition to this, the city has six accelerators, including Codebase and Seed Haus, and one of Europe’s leading universities. The University of Edinburgh is ranked 27th in the Times Higher Education ranking.

Reacting to the report, Wright said the UK’s track record of creating fast-growing tech companies is “second to none in Europe”, adding that the UK is helping to “push the boundaries of science to change people’s lives for the better.”

Wright singled out Edinburgh and Manchester, in particular, as two cities developing a reputation as tech hubs.

“These new statistics show Manchester and Edinburgh are now competing on a global scale,” he said. “And stellar tech firms are growing right across the country, spreading new jobs and investment.”

Global Competition

Combined, Oxford and Cambridge have produced more fast-growing tech companies than both Paris and Berlin; with Darktrace and Nanopore in the spotlight.

London is acknowledged in the report as the centre of Europe’s tech sector – producing 21% of the continent’s unicorns. the UK’s capital city has produced 36 unicorns, worth more than $132 billion (£101 billion), while Berlin has produced eight worth around $32 billion (£24 billion).

While London is expected to have featured strongly, the report suggests the UK as a whole maintains a strong and varied tech ecosystem, which is outcompeting European counterparts. In the North of England, Manchester has become the focal point of a thriving e-commerce cluster and has produced as many unicorns as Amsterdam.

Despite a significantly smaller population than Amsterdam, Manchester is now home to 10 accelerators and had an investment per head of population of £377 in 2017 – higher than Amsterdam’s £308.

A Bright Future?

Looking ahead, the report predicts the UK will continue to lead Europe in its creation of tech unicorns. It says the UK has 54 “potential unicorns or businesses that are worth between $250 million to $1 billion.” The total value of these growing firms stands at slightly more than $18 billion (£13.8 billion).

Conversely, the UK’s closest competitor, Germany, has 28 with a value of $8.8 billion (£6.1 billion). France has 27, worth $7.7 billion (£5.9 billion) while Israel ranks third with 25 potential unicorns emerging from its tech sector.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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