UK doubles $10bn+ tech businesses in six months

In the first half of 2021, the UK has seen the establishment of seven new $10 billion+ tech businesses.

According to research from Tech Nation, this ranks Britain third in the world for the number of technology companies valued over $10 billion, also known as ‘decacorns.’

While the UK has 12 such businesses, the US has 157, and China has 38 in total.

This year Revolut, Wise, Arrival, eToro, Checkout.com, Farfetch, and Ocado were established in the UK. But most of the founders of these companies were born outside of the UK, hailing from Israel, Portugal, Russia, Estonia, Switzerland, and the US.

“Through 2020 and 2021, the rapid growth of the UK’s highest-value tech companies was accelerated by the pandemic, as consumers began to rely increasingly on tech for food deliveries, healthcare and solutions to societal challenges,” said Dr. George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation. “The growth of these high-value UK tech companies was also expedited by changing national and global priorities, such as the UK’s push towards reducing carbon emissions and becoming net zero by 2050, combined with the growing popularity of FinTech, DeFi and cryptocurrencies.”

Windsor added: “The UK is also a powerful tech incubator due to its commitment to helping start-ups scale and thrive.”

The UK’s new decacorns are from a variety of tech sub-sectors, including CleanTech, FinTech, InsurTech, and e-commerce.

Tech Nation, the network for technology entrepreneurs, said that through 2020 and 2021, the rapid growth of the UK’s highest-value tech companies was accelerated by changes to how companies access late-stage investment, and by the pandemic, as consumers began to rely on tech for food deliveries, access to healthcare and solutions to social challenges.

Growth of technology companies in the UK

eToro, the online share trading platform, reached a valuation of $10.4 billion in March, as the company acquired five million new customers in 2021.

Arrival, the electrical vehicle start-up, raised $400 million, and completed its NASDAQ IPO, taking its valuation to $13 billion.

Payments scaleup Checkout.com, closed a $450 million Series C round, taking its valuation up to $15bn.

Farfetch, the luxury e-commerce platform, reached a valuation of $16.7bn, while Ocado, the online grocer, reached a valuation of $20 billion, as both companies capitalised on changing consumer behaviour brought on by the pandemic.

FinTech giants Revolut and Wise are the two latest companies to join the ranks of the UK’s Decacorns. Revolut reached a valuation of $33 billion earlier this month, making it the UK’s most valuable tech company, and Wise reached a valuation of $11 billion after its direct listing on the London Stock Exchange

Together, the UK’s 12 decacorns employ almost 50,000 people and have raised $9.78 billion of investment since their inception.

The UK’s decacorns have attracted investment from all over the world, with the majority of investment coming from the US at 54 per cent. This is followed by 29 per cent of total investment coming from Asia and 4 per cent from European investors. Meanwhile, 14 per cent of investment came from UK-based investors.

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