UK technology companies raised a record $3.6 billion (£2.5 billion) from venture capitalists in 2015, according to data from research firm CB Insights and London & Partners, which promotes the London Mayor’s office.
Startups in Britain raised 70% more from venture capitalists last year than they did in 2014, when $2.1 billion (£1.4 billion) was raised, suggesting appetite from investors for UK tech companies has grown significantly.
Since 2010, UK technology companies have collectively raised $9.7 billion (£6.6 billion) with London-based firms accounting for more than half of the total, securing $5.2 billion (£3.5 billion).
While the numbers sound impressive, it’s worth noting that rival tech companies in Silicon Valley are raising significantly more money. Data from CB Insights shows North American tech companies raised $59.0 billion (£40 billion) in the first nine months of 2015.
The data shows that half of all venture capital investments into London’s tech sector were made by UK investment funds, with the US (29%), Israel (4%) and Germany (2%) also contributing. The most active investor was Index Ventures, followed by Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, 83North, and Hoxton Ventures.
Fintech startups raise the most
Companies operating in London’s booming fintech sector raised more money than those in other sectors as investors saw potential in a number of platforms that stand to disrupt the world’s biggest banks.
Peer-to-peer lending service Funding Circle had the largest single deal of the year with a $150 million (£103 million) investment round led by Moscow-headquartered DST Global. Elsewhere, Funding Circle rival Zopa raised $106 million (£72.4 million) and money transfer services TransferWise and WorldRemit raised $58 million (£40 million) and $100 million (£68.4 million) respectively.
Another huge funding round was secured by restaurant food delivery company Deliveroo, which raised $100 million (£68.4 million) in November, bringing total funding in the company up to $195 million (£133 million).
Many of the UK’s fastest-growing tech firms now have valuations over $1 billion (£680 million), making them “unicorn” businesses. However, the UK is yet to create a technology company on anywhere near the same scale as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and so on, which are all valued at over $100 billion (£68 billion).
Eileen Burbidge, partner at Passion Capital and a government technology advisor, said the figures show that the UK’s tech sector is continuing to mature.
“Investors are increasingly attracted by the diversity of London’s tech ecosystem but also our strengths in certain sectors such as fintech. With more investment coming in from overseas and greater access to London-based growth funds, there has arguably never been a greater time to start and grow a digital business in London.”