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15 May, 2019 - 11:35 By Tony Quested

Tech that! Cambridge stars in 2019 Tech Nation report

Gerard Grech

Cambridge is second only to London in the whole of the UK for attracting high growth technology investment, the Tech Nation 2019 report in conjunction with the World Economic Forum reveals.

It is a distant second but in a nationwide context, Cambridge’s performance remains outstanding.

London companies received £9 billion from 2015-18 with Cambridge second at £583 million grossed. Other UK cities are said to have made considerable ground.

The East of England in general is shown to be an outstanding performer on the UK’s tech stage.

Notably, the East of England has seen the greatest increase in capital invested across all tech companies, at 206 per cent, followed by the West Midlands (54 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (51 per cent).

Turnover from digital tech businesses in the East region is currently £8.3bn while the digital tech businesses count stands at 19,000. Employment in the digital tech sector in the region has reached 89,000 with digital tech productivity per worker quoted at £101,000.

Joe Parry, founder and CEO of Cambridge Intelligence commented: “Cambridge produces strong engineers and has a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem of founders & suppliers. And the work/life balance is great, with people having only a short bicycle ride between work and home.“

Tech Nation will hold a talks event in Cambridge in July where it will share insights from the report and discuss the strengths and challenges facing technology companies in the East of England.

For the first time, the Tech Nation report explored the wider international landscape. In 2018 the UK tech sector gleaned five per cent of global hi-tech scale-up investment – placing it fourth in the world and ahead of Germany, France and Sweden. The US, China and India were the top three.
The UK remains a hotbed for tech talent – employing five per cent of all high-growth tech workers globally and placing the UK ahead of Japan, France and Indonesia.

To date, 35 per cent of Europe and Israel’s technology unicorns ($1bn valued businesses) have been created in the UK.

The UK is ranked number one in the world for scale-up investment into FinTech firms – generating £4.5bn in funding between 2015 and 2018.

Cyber, AI, and CleanTech all feature in the top 10 sectors for employment in high-growth tech firms. Investment data shows that AI, Cyber and Big Data are growing in importance for UK tech scaleups. This means that the UK may be about to see more jobs generated in these sectors.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The UK is a global technology powerhouse. I am immensely proud of our country’s ambitious tech scaleups. These companies are delivering significant economic value to the nation through the investment they raise, the jobs they create and the innovative products and services they deliver.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond added: “The UK tech sector continues to grow strongly with UK firms attracting the most venture capital funding in Europe and investment in  digital scaleups growing by almost two-thirds in a year. 

“We are supporting British innovation so we can drive growth, jobs and higher living standards, including through £2.5 billion for the British Business Bank. This funding will help high-growth firms to access the finance they need to succeed.”

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech Nation commented: “The UK continues to exceed all predictions when it comes to tech growth. This report shows how the UK is a critical hub when it comes to global technology developments, with scale-up tech investment being the highest in Europe, and only surpassed by the US, China and India. This is a testament to the innovation, ambition and tenacity of tech entrepreneurs across the UK. 

“These valuable findings will help inform how the UK as a nation can continue to foster competition and collaboration in an increasingly interconnected world.”

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