FinTech is the UK’s star technology performer, and has been at the centre of a flurry of government announcements, strategies, and speeches during London Tech Week (13-17 June).
Figures from non-statutory advisory body the UK Digital Economy Council reveal that, between them, 950 UK tech companies have raised more than £12.4 billion in venture capital investment since January alone.
Exactly half of that investment (£6.2 billion) was raised by FinTech start-ups, confirming the UK’s position as the world number two in the market, behind the US and ahead of China.
However, the statistics also reveal that roughly two-thirds of start-up investment across the whole of UK technology is based in London, making the UK overly reliant on the capital.
By contrast, previous reports for Transform Finance have revealed that multimillion-dollar start-ups are found in 40 US states – 80 percent of the country.
The FinTech sector’s ongoing success was hailed by government figures, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, whose speech opened London Tech Week on Monday.
Sunak hailed the UK’s “distinctive strengths in FinTech”. He added that Britain has more tech unicorns (37 to date) than every country except the US and China.
He also praised the UK’s light-touch regulatory environment, and its pioneering of Open Banking, blockchain, and the regulatory sandbox.
Boris Johnson tweeted, “The Great Tech Revolution is transforming our world and I want the UK to be at the forefront of this advance.”
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, described the UK as a “technology superpower”.
She added that the figures were a “huge vote of confidence in the talent behind great British tech and the innovative, competitive market which exists here in the UK”.
On Monday, Dorries and Digital Minister Chris Philp launched the UK’s new Digital Strategy, the government’s first since 2017. The aim is to ensure that new technology will power the UK economy in the years ahead.
However, industry body techUK claimed that the Strategy is a “missed opportunity” and largely a rehashing of initiatives that are already in play.
A statement on the organisation’s website [https://www.techuk.org/resource/the-2022-digital-strategy-does-it-provide-the-ambition-we-need-for-uk-tech.html] says, “While this Strategy is welcome, it is short-term, with the majority of actions listed already happening or set for completion on or before 2024/25.
“Should all these deliverables be implemented without delay the Strategy would need to be updated by the end of 2024 to remain relevant.
“The Strategy is also missing a longer-term vision or statement of intent about the role that digital technologies could play in tackling the systemic problems that face the UK.”
• Also in London Tech Week, ecommerce giant and Web services behemoth Amazon, a member of the UK’s Digital Economy Council, revealed that it is launching a new FinTech accelerator for the UK.
The aim is to support financial start-ups in building cloud-based solutions, in part using AWS technology.