Seven reasons why the future is bright for the UK tech scene – a quick look at the facts
Written by Paul Maher
- We are a #GeekNation
Britain is a nation of early adopters. A nation of engineers. A nation of geniuses. Growing up in sleepy Surrey my grandparents lived in the house next door to where Barnes Wallace designed his ‘Bouncing Bomb’. He did it in his shed. Since then the UK has cracked Enigma at Bletchley Park, invented the Hard Disk and, in Richmond, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and gave it to us all for free. Now, we embrace smartphones and the mobile internet more rapidly than other nations and we spend more time online than any other European country. Phones are more widely used for music streaming and social networking than any other European country and we spend more than double the next European country (France) online per capita.
- The UK is the second biggest destination in the world for VC money Venture capitalists invested a record $3.6 billion in the UK’s tech scene last year, up 70% from the year before. The country has consistently attracted more than 30 percent of all European VC funds for several years
- The UK’s internationally renowned universities are a crucial part of the ecosystem
There are over 170 universities in the UK, and six are in the world’s top 30. Oxford University, Cambridge University, and Imperial College, London are in the global top 10. The turnout of graduates is the highest in Western Europe. British universities are world class and produce over 5,000 new STEM PhDs per year.
- The UK is second in the world for tech startup IPO, after the US
The London Stock Exchange is the second largest financial market in the world, based on the number of companies listed
- First-generation entrepreneurs are now creating their own funds and building a sustainable ecosystem
After a modest wave of successful IPOs, Britain’s first generation of VC funds and angel investors are looking for places to invest their money. The recycling of capital into startups is something that has helped Silicon Valley maintain its supremacy across a couple of generations. Now in the UK we are starting to see the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.Better still, SoftBank and the Sovereign Wealth fund of Saudi Arabia are launching a $100bn tech fund. Based in London and funded with $25bn from SoftBank and $45bn from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund over the next five years, the goal is to create a tech investment fund that will rival no other.Due to be called the SoftBank Vision Fund, the $100bn equals the same amount of all funds raised by US venture capital firms over the past two and a half years
- The UK is a fintech leader, but what about ed tech, ad tech, prop tech, health tech, media and entertainment and reg tech
Because of its supremacy in financial services, there is a tendency to assume London is dominated by fintech. There are plenty of businesses starting up in this space, like Monzo, Pockit, and Atom Bank, and amazing unicorn companies like Transferwise and WorldPay. But the UK’s digital economy is more diverse than you might imagine.
- Some of the UK’s biggest tech success stories have stayed under the radar
ARM Holdings is a case in point. ARM designs the chips that power 95 percent of the world’s smartphones, and its technology effectively put a computer in everyone’s pocket. This summer, the Cambridge-based company, which few consumers had heard of, accepted a $32 billion takeover offer from Japanese conglomerate Softbank.
These are the reasons why the UK tech scene has the opportunity to #PlayBiggerLDN
At our packed out event on 16th November 2016 we will be educating Europe’s top tech executives and Venture Capitalists on the importance of Category Design and will debate whether the UK can produce executive teams who can ‘Play Bigger’ to create Companies like Uber and AirBnB.
Can’t make it? You can watch the live-stream here.