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20 March 2020
tech nation 2020 report
Tech Nation

Tech Nation 2020 Report: UK tech for a changing world

With £10.1B raised by UK startups in 2019 the confidence in new technologies to disrupt and respond to today's biggest challenges is clear, and we are delighted to share the hotly anticipated Tech Nation 2020 Report which focuses on UK tech for a changing world.

Each year Tech Nation monitors the growth of the tech sector and provides information about opportunities and challenges. With emerging technologies continuing to disrupt and tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, this year the report focuses on UK tech for a changing world.

As a total of £10.1B was raised in 2019 in the UK (a third of the total investments in EU startups) it is clear that British tech is at the forefront of the future of technologies.

In the Tech Nation 2020 Report, you can read Boris Johnson introducing words:

“I am delighted to introduce this report, which confirms the United Kingdom’s standing as Europe’s number one Tech Nation. In the space of a single year, we have shattered all records, with technology investment in the UK soaring by 44 per cent to over £10B – more than France and Germany combined. Britain is second in the world for fintech, with investment rising by over 100 per cent in the last year alone. And we are number one in Europe for the emerging technologies that will transform the lives of every single human being.” – Boris Johnson

Additionally, to mark the launch of their report and their insightful work, the Tech Nation team live-streamed the launch with key spokespersons to introduce their work compiling new stats and where the UK positions itself in the tech market. You can re-watch the stream below.

To put together this report, the Tech Nation Insights team worked closely with Aon, Dealroom, Pitchbook, Crunchbase, gsma and EY and used their data and stats. Some of these numbers reveal how well the UK ranks among the tech sector, at both the European and global scale. Here are some notable stats:

  • #1 – UK is Europe’s top scaling tech nation and is continuing to grow
  • £10.1B – Record investment into UK tech companies in 2019
  • 95 – Companies valued at $250-$800M in the UK in 2019, a 27% increase from 2018
  • 5/20 – Manchester, London, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge are all in Europe’s top 20 cities for tech investment
  • 277% – Manchester is Europe’s fastest-growing major tech cluster, with investment growing from £48M in 2018 to £181M in 2019
  • 77 – The UK is 3rd in the world for tech unicorns behind only the US and China, with 77 companies valued at over $1B
  • 6x – Tech sector GVA grew nearly six times as fast as that of the UK economy as a whole – £104B in 2010 to £149B in 2018, +43% in eight years
  • +44% – UK tech investment grew to a record £10.1B in 2019
  • 2.93M – UK tech employment grew by 40% in the last 2 years, now accounting for 9% of the national workforce with 2.93M jobs created
  • £2.2B – UK tech companies aligned to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have raised £2.2B over the last 6 years, the highest in Europe

The UK is the third nation in the world for tech investment for another year running, behind only the US and China, and raised more than France and Germany combined. The rate of investment growth injected in the UK has accelerated compared to European countries, from a decrease of 17% in 2018 to a rise of 44% in 2019. The investment made in the UK is now higher than into Germany and France combined.

Additionally, 81.2% of UK tech investment was made into high-growth potential scaleup firms (with at least 10 employees and growing by at least 20% year on year). This goes within a more maturing tech ecosystem leading to larger, older and more developed companies raising later rounds of investment. Just a few years ago megarounds of investment of over $100M were almost unknown in the UK, whereas now they are becoming common. In 2019, 8 tech unicorns (companies valued at over $1B) were created in the UK bringing the UK’s total count to 77 since 1990.

What does this tell about the future of tech?

Because tech is currently disrupting many industries, the Tech Nation 2020 Report examines in detail the future of innovation across different tech sectors. Main emerging technologies will use Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Generally, AI dominates emerging technologies as investment continues to increase in this field. Most businesses that have been innovating tech are involved in combining multiple technologies simultaneously, like robotics and cybersecurity.