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UK hits milestone of 100 UK tech companies valued at $1bn or more

18 June 2021
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The UK tech sector has reached new heights with 100 UK tech companies valued at $1bn or more, according to new data from Dealroom and Tech Nation.

The UK’s 100th tech unicorn, Tractable, an AI startup building computer vision tools, and a member of Tech Nation’s late-stage Future Fifty programme, has announced a $60 million Series D raise, that takes the company's valuation to $1 billion.

UK tech unicorn creation reflects the rapid growth of the tech sector. So far in 2021, 13 UK tech unicorns have already been created, compared to seven in the whole of 2020, and UK tech unicorn creation has increased by 127 per cent since 2017, when the UK was home to 44 tech unicorns.

Collectively, the UK’s 100 tech unicorns have raised almost $32 billionn (€28.9 billion) in VC investment, across multiple tech sub-sectors, including e-commerce, insurtech, and cyber security and energy. 34 per cent  of UK tech unicorns are fintech companies, 14 per cent  healthtech, 8 per cent  travel and transport tech, 5 per cent  foodtech and 4 per cent  gaming.

Tech Unicorns in our region include:

Vertical Aerospace, Bristol

Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Oxford

Exscientia, Oxford

Graphcore, Bristol

Gymshark, Solihull

OVO Energy, Bristol

Adaptimmune, Abingdon


The UK now joins the US and China as the only nations to have triple digit tech unicorns globally, and is the first country in Europe to reach 100 tech unicorns, with more tech unicorns than Germany (42), France (22) and the Netherlands (18) combined.

These high levels of tech unicorn creation reflect the continued strength of the UK tech sector, which reached record highs in the first half of this year. UK tech startups have raised €13.2 billion ($14.5 billion) since the start of the year, beating the previous record of €8.1 billion ($8.9 billion) (H2 2020), with two weeks still left to go.

Gerard Grech, Chief Executive, Tech Nation, said: “With UK tech unicorn creation growing by 127 per cent over the last 3 years, it’s clear that the UK tech sector has become a rapidly growing hub for unicorns, culminating in 100 companies with unicorn status today. It’s a privilege to have worked closely with many of these inspiring companies, helping them navigate scaling challenges as they continue to transform every corner of UK industry. At Tech Nation, we look forward to continuing to support these rapidly-growing businesses, as well as nurturing the next generation of tech unicorns.”

Yoram Wijngaarde, Founder and CEO, Dealroom, said: "The UK has just passed a major milestone. Only three countries have created unicorns in triple figures: the US, China and the UK. The raw unicorn figures can be a sign of a maturing ecosystem, but there is also no let up in pace. Europe is an entrepreneurial hotbed attracting international investor attention, with 2021 investment already breaking all records. The 2021 Unicorn Founders Club will be welcoming new members before long."

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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