Foreign investment in tech start-ups slumped in 2018

Recent research has suggested that foreign investment in the UK’s technology start-up businesses fell by 29 per cent last year, as the industry faced ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.

The decline was led by Chinese investors, who were involved in 52 deals worth £1.3 billion in 2018, compared to 70 deals totalling almost £2 billion the year before.

Meanwhile, US investment fell by 24 per cent from £3.3 billion to £2.5 billion over the same period, although American firms were involved in more deals, rising from 161 in 2017 to 166 last year.

Overall, UK businesses raised a total of £4.2 billion in deals involving at least one non-UK investor in 2018. This was a fall of 29 per cent from the record £6 billion raised in 2017, although it was still double the £2 billion raised in 2016.

However, European investors pumped a record £1.9 billion into UK tech start-ups last year, which was a 14 per cent increase on the £1.7 billion invested in 2017. German and French firms were the most active investors, although the Swiss, Spanish and Dutch also made a number of investments.

As a spokesman for the firm conducting the research commented, the UK is an obvious destination for Europeans because of its proximity to them and their knowledge of the market in the UK.

The research was released hot on the heels of news that suggested UK tech firms were looking to grow but are struggling to build their teams because of a squeeze on talent. Moreover, according to separate research, around a third of UK-based leading machine learning and artificial intelligence specialists have been snapped by Silicon Valley tech firms.

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