Cambridge is the main regional technology hub as UK attracts record investment | Technology start-ups

Britain’s tech sector has attracted a record investment of £ 29.4 billion this year, according to a study, with Cambridge being declared the country’s top regional tech city.

The one-time infusion of venture capital funds, which invest in and take equity stakes in new businesses, is more than double the total of £ 11.5bn last year.

The number of unicorns – start-ups worth over $ 1 billion (£ 750million) – peaked at 29 in 2021, including Depop, the UK’s fashion resale app. second-hand marketed in the US Etsy online marketplace for $ 1.6 billion this year, and the freeway platform car sale.

The billion dollar business increase brings the total number of unicorns in the UK to 116, according to figures released by the Digital Economy Council, a government advisory committee. This compares to 31 in France and 56 in Germany, according to the DEC.

References to the government’s level-up policy, which seeks to narrow the gap in wealth and opportunity between London and the rest of the UK, featured prominently in DEC’s research. He declared Cambridge the main regional tech city in the UK, ahead of Manchester and Oxford, reflecting factors such as its high levels of venture capital funding and the number of unicorns. Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are also in the top 10.

“The UK is very good at nurturing and cultivating startups and scale-ups in successful global businesses across the UK,” said Gerard Grech, managing director of Tech Nation, a government-backed industry group. . “A true network of digital excellence is emerging across the country thanks to entrepreneurship, stimulating the creation of new jobs and wealth. “

According to figures compiled by data firm Dealroom and job search engine Adzuna, the number of tech jobs rose 165% in Manchester last year while the highest wages outside London, still the UK’s main tech hub, were in Edinburgh at an average of £ 58,405.

Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter said that while there had been an ‘increase’ in tech recruiting across the UK, finding qualified staff to fill the positions was a problem . “The struggle for businesses across the country is to have enough qualified personnel to fill these positions in order for them to continue to grow,” he said.

The study found that around 30% of the £ 26bn in UK tech venture capital funding last year went to companies outside London and the south-east of England. The regions were home to nine of the 29 unicorns trained this year, including Interactive Investor in Glasgow – an online investment platform – and electric aircraft company Vertical Aerospace in Bristol.

Most of the venture capital money coming into the UK comes from the US, accounting for 37% of investments, 28% coming from domestic companies.