The U.K. is in the midst of a tech boom, with the number of companies in the technology sector worth at least $10 billion more than doubling in the past six months.
That’s according to City AM, which lists the FinTech Revolut, online grocery store Ocado and payments platform Checkout.com among the dozen British companies achieving “decacorn” status in the first half of 2021.
(That’s a newer piece of jargon, but one that makes sense. If a billion-dollar company is a unicorn, it makes sense that a $10 billion company gets the preface “deca.”)
“The surge in new decacorns means the U.K. now boasts 12 of these large companies, putting it in third place globally behind only the U.S. and China,” noted the report. “It reflects a sharp acceleration in growth for British tech firms as a result of the pandemic, as well as new changes in how companies access late-stage investment.”
The most valuable of these firms is Revolut, at $33 billion following an $800 million funding round run by SoftBank. In second place is Ocado at $20 billion, followed by the online fashion platform Farfetch at $16.7 billion and Checkout.com at $15 billion.
According to City AM, the 12 companies collectively employ nearly 50,000 people and have raised a little under $10 billion since their inception. Investors come from around the world, although the U.S. is the chief source of the funding, making up 54 percent of all financing. Six out of the seven new decacorns come from outside the U.K., the report noted.
“These new figures reaffirm the U.K.’s position as a top global tech hub with strong growth from the sector as we build back better from the pandemic,” said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. “We are backing our booming tech scene with world-class digital infrastructure, skills and pro-innovation regulation, attracting talent and creating jobs across the country.”
This news comes less than two weeks after the business growth and promotional agency London & Partners announced that a record $5.3 billion was invested in London-based FinTechs in the first half of 2021 alone. Allen Simpson, the acting CEO of London & Partners, told PYMNTS that this investment spike makes sense.
“The thing about payments as a subsector of FinTech is that it’s got such clarity,” Simpson said. “You know who the customers are … you’ve got sight of what it is you’re charging and why. Probably more than any other sector of FinTech, [there is] a real commercial clarity about [payments]. There’s a reasonable revenue stream, [these startups] are delivering that revenue, and [so] you’re always going to see investors price that sensibly.”