British tech firms secure record £5.5bn foreign investment

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The new figures were hailed as a sign of confidence in the sector – with the weakness of the pound also likely to have helped.

Investors ploughed $6.7bn (£5.5bn) into the UK tech sector in the first seven months of the year, more than the whole of 2018, according to figures from the government’s digital economy council.

The research by industry body Tech Nation and data company Dealroom also indicated that the UK has overtaken the US for the amount of investment per capita.

It was hailed as a sign of the confidence overseas investors have in UK tech.

The weakness of the pound is also likely to have made the sector a more attractive destination.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: A Deliveroo rider cycles through central London on February 16, 2018 in London, England. Millions of part-time and flexible workers in the so-called gig economy are to receive new rights including sick and holiday pay under a new government reform. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Image:An investment in Amazon backed by Deliveroo was among the major funding boosts for UK tech

The investment figure was 43% higher than the $4.7bn for the same period last year – but about 50% higher in sterling terms as the dollar has strengthened against the pound.

The $4.7bn sum buys just over £3.8bn today compared to £3.6bn a year ago.

Funding growth was driven by US and Asian investors pumping $3.7bn into UK firms, making up 55% of all the investment.

The report said that since 2013, the UK tech sector has attracted twice as much funding as Germany from US and Asian investors, and six times as much as France.

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Renewable energy company Ovo, which secured major Japanese backing, and takeaway business Deliveroo – which won funding from Amazon – were among the main drivers of the latest increase.

Nicky Morgan, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “These fantastic figures show the confidence overseas investors have in UK tech with investment flows from the US and Asia at an all-time high.

“We have a longstanding reputation for innovation and the statistics endorse our reputation as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a digital business.”

Eileen Burbridge, chair of Tech Nation, said: “Investment in the UK tech sector has been steadily rising for years and as these latest figures demonstrate, the momentum is increasing.”

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