How can £30,000,000,000 slip under the radar pretty much unnoticed?
I don’t know, but it seems like it has.
Did you know 2021 saw the largest investment in the British Technology sector EVER? Just shy of £30 BILLION was raised from Venture Capitalist investment during 2021.
Is it just me, or does it feel like this has slipped under the radar and not been hailed, celebrated, or discussed enough?! The news was announced on December 28th, and I must admit I did think it was a strange time to confirm such positive news.
Why is this positive? Well without stating the obvious that investment into the UK economy is a good thing for all of us, whether it be for job creation, increasing remuneration, or the increased revenue for research and development.
So where was this money invested and how does it compare to previous years?
Firstly, during 2021 the UK attracted 2.3 times as much investment as it did in 2020. Now this you might say is obvious as there were some other things, well one very big thing happening in 2020. However, consider this, in 2014 the amount invested in the UK Tech economy by VC’s was £3.5 BILLION. By my calculation that’s a 740% increase in a seven-year period. WOW.
The UK Tech Scale Up, Start-Up sector continues to attract the lions share of the money invested into the UK Tech Sector, but what I find even more interesting is that 72% of the money invested came from outside the UK. This I cannot decide whether I think is a good thing or not? Does this mean we are not investing in our own economy and digital future enough? Is this positive as the UK is clearly attractive to overseas investors? Or dare I say is this the UK selling the crown jewels outside of our own shores? Certainly, food for thought and certainly worthy of discussion I feel. One thing is for sure, the US investment market clearly is smitten with the UK Tech scene, as American investors were far and away the biggest investors during 2021.
Looking at it through the European lenses, this level of investment ensures the UK remains at the forefront of the European Tech scene. The 2021 investment in the UK is over double that of Germany during the same period and over a third of all VC investment in Europe during 2021 (£89.5bn total.)
The UK Government are certainly happy with this level of investment in the UK Tech economy; however I can’t help thinking the Chancellor Rishi Sunak thinks we are still not grasping the opportunity in-front of us when he said the below in relation to this news:
‘It’s time we recognised the quality that other countries see in the UK, and back ourselves by investing more money into the companies and infrastructure that will drive growth and prosperity across our country.’
It is great to see a third of the total investment amount being provided to businesses outside of London, and I must admit I do like the Government’s ‘levelling up Power Tech League,’ concept. This feels like it is giving ‘the regions’ a brand and identity, but we do need to be aware of getting regions to compete against each other. This I fear would not be positive. We need all regions to grow if we are to truly ‘level up.’
The below shows once again Cambridge leading the ‘power league’ of investment, but it is great to see such a spread of investment.
Lastly what does this mean for real people, and for jobs? If I have one wish for 2022 it would be to see a real plan to tackle the skills gap and re-training needed to aid the talent crisis we face across technology. ‘Crisis,’ is that hyperbole and being dramatic? Well, in November 2021 for example there was 160,000 Tech jobs advertised in the UK. This is for one month alone and is not going to be solved by businesses trying to hire and attract people from other businesses. If anything, that is actually going to make things worse. We must tackle the source of the problem, which is we need more people in the funnel.
I believe investment to this level year after year, with over £500 BILLION invested into the UK Tech sector in the past year, is fantastic for the economy. However, I must admit I do question if we are using all that money to it’s full potential.
What do you think?
This article was written by Simon brown Funder of Digital 51. Simon was inspired and would recommend you read the below three source articles to see the data and information from this article in full. To tell Simon your thoughts on the UK Tech scene please reach out to him on