What does 2017 have in store for the start-up ecosystem in the UK?
It is, of course, as yet unknown, but here at 2Pears, we know a thing or two about start-ups and the innovation ecosystem that connects and nurtures their relationships with peers, partners, investors, and corporates. 2017 has thus far been full of largely positive announcements and trends.
Here’s our round of start-up news fresh off the New Year presses.
Brexit hasn’t (yet) had an impact on tech investment in the UK
According to Bloomberg, “UK tech companies raised more capital than any other European country in 2016.” Britain also saw a “record year for tech deals,” due in no small part to the Japanese SoftBank Group acquiring UK chip designer, ARM for a staggering $32 billion.
Records were set across many types of investment, including private equity, venture capital, and M&A. However, one reason cited for such strong investment numbers was the pound’s 8.1% depreciation following the Brexit vote.
2017, so far, is looking good
2017 is already off to a strong start for investment, though – for example, Funding Circle Ltd., the biggest online lender for small businesses in the U.K., announced this week that it has already raised $100 million in equity funding.
Clean tech start-up Switchee kicked off the year by announcing £48,000 in seed funding, while event-discovery app Revl secured £2.4 million. Street trading start-up StreetDots raised £350,000, and in acquisition news, fin-tech start-up Babel Systems was acquired by InvestCloud. For more investment news, head over to our friends at TechCity News.
The UK government does a fair amount for start-ups…
Recent open criticism of the government cites the lack of support for start-ups as a “source of embarrassment.” But Scott Carey at TechWorld disagrees, citing examples of government programmes and initiatives that support start-ups in their early development and beyond, including funding, support and advice, visas, broadband infrastructure and mentoring.
…But more tech talent is needed
The visas we mentioned in the paragraph above? At present, the rules have been relaxed to allow 200 “exceptional” tech workers, as well as entrepreneur visas for company’s with high projected growth.
However, for many this is not enough, especially since post-Brexit rules about free movement of workers has yet to be detailed. “UK start-ups do not need government funding,” reports the Telegraph.” They need access to top talent.”
The first TechPitch 4.5 of 2017 takes place on 31 January at Pinsent Mason in EC2V. Eight start-ups have been selected to pitch their business to our expert judging panel and the wider audience. Come, see, meet, greet, and network.