#UK Cambridge in world’s top 12 for wooing VC investment

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The UK’s technology sector is outperforming all the others in Europe and even those in the US and China – in terms of the increase in venture capital investment it saw in 2019. 

And Cambridge is one of the 12 top destinations in the world for venture capital investment, beating cities like Oslo and Dublin.

Research carried out for the UK government’s Digital Economy Council by Dealroom.co and Tech Nation shows that venture capital investment in the UK reached record levels in 2019 of $13.2 billion.

This was a 44 per cent improvement on 2018’s figures: over the same period VC investment in the US and China slipped by 20 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively.

Cambridge tech companies received $700 million of new venture capital investment in 2019, the report confirms.

Nationally, almost half of the UK investments (£4.6bn) in 2019 came via US and Asian investors and the UK tech sector recently overtook the US for foreign investment per capita. What’s more, when compared to Germany and France, the UK had the widest overall mix of foreign versus domestic investors. 

The UK’s success in attracting venture capital investment in 2019 also fuelled, in part, a surge in the UK’s best performing sectors – fintech, AI and deep tech, and clean energy.

Again, when compared with Germany and France, UK fintech firms raised £4.1bn last year – an impressive 7.5 times the amount raised by French fintechs, and three times as much as FinTech firms in Germany.  

This figure represents a 100 per cent increase from 2018’s total of £2bn, as a result of both the Greensill and Checkout.com investments plus significant fundraises from the likes of World Remit ($197m), Monzo ($147m) and Starling Bank ($98m). 

In AI and deep tech, investments in Benevolent AI ($90m), Melody ($60m) and Wayve ($20m) helped push the investment total across these sectors to £2.5bn  – up from £2bn from 2018, and twice that invested in Germany and France’s respective sectors. 

While clean energy is a smaller market, OVO Energy’s $260m deal, alongside $81m investments in photovoltaic and solar panel firm Oxford PV and BBOXX, similarly helped push 2019’s total investment in this sector to just short of $1bn for the first time, which is a 45% increase on 2018’s figures.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “These brilliant new numbers demonstrate the strength of the UK tech industry and how it is a sweet spot of our economy.

“Our tech companies are not only commanding the confidence of global investors but they are also creating new jobs and wealth across the country. It’s absolutely vital we maintain this impressive success and in Government we are working tirelessly to make sure the conditions are right.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Nicky Morgan MP

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