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Success of UK tech sector stretches beyond the boundaries of London

15:11 15 November in News

The UK has created 35% of all unicorns from Europe and Israel (60 out of 169), according to research prepared for Tech Nation and the Government’s Digital Economy Council. In addition to analysing the number of unicorns, the report also looks at other factors that contribute to tech ecosystem development, including population size, position of university in world rankings, number of accelerators and investment per capita in tech companies in 2017.

The report reveals that UK regions come to the fore in producing $1 billion tech companies, otherwise known as unicorns, with regional cities across the country competing head-to-head with Europe’s biggest capitals. Manchester is on par with Amsterdam, having generated five of such companies; Edinburgh and Leeds have each produced two unicorns.

“The UK is fast becoming a network of digital excellence, with various strengths in different digital domains. Cities like Manchester, Oxford and Cambridge are producing significant companies including The Hut Group, Sophos, Oxford Nanopore and Darktrace. Increasingly these cities are competing with other tech hubs in Asia and the US and can go head-to-head with Europe’s capitals on many measures.”

Gerard Grech, Chief Executive – Tech Nation

Oxford and Cambridge have produced more fast-growing tech companies than both Paris and Berlin. Combined, the two cities have created nine unicorns worth a total of $57 billion, whilst the two capitals have generated five and eight respectively. This is testimony to the role that world-leading academic institutions have to play in contributing to the next generation of technology companies.

“Oxford’s tech sector is thriving, helped by the unicorns that are based in the city and nearby, and we hope to see many more exciting tech companies choose to stay and build their businesses here in the future, helped by access to the rich seam of talent in the university, such as the researchers and projects highlighted by the #OxfordAI initiative.”

Professor Helen Margetts, Director – Oxford Internet Institute

One of Oxford’s four unicorns, Oxford Nanopore, is a spin-out from the University. Having created a mobile DNA sequencer the size of a USB stick, the company’s technology is today available in more than 80 countries. Another Oxford University spin-out and unicorn is Immunocore, a privately-owned biotech company that now works with universities around the world.

“For years investors have put money into spinouts coming out of Oxford University’s world-leading research and labs. The difference now is that there is real momentum behind the growth of the tech sector in the city and strong relationships between Oxford, global investors, industry leaders, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The growth of this ecosystem means we can support UK companies on their journey towards becoming world-beating companies in a meaningful way.”

Riwa Harfoush, Head of Network Intelligence – Oxford Sciences Innovation

Looking forward, the UK is also expected to lead Europe by the number of potential future unicorns. With 54 potential unicorns or businesses that are worth between $250m to $1 billion, the next closest competitors in Europe are Germany (28) and France (27).

Read the article in full here.

View the report deck on SlideShare here.