UK tech sector in a position of strength as lockdown lifts

Record investment is helping startups through the pandemic with London named the top hub in Europe

The UK's tech sector is "well-positioned" to face the challenges of life after the coronavirus, according to a report, thanks to record-breaking levels of funding before the pandemic hit. 

The country's tech startups raised $5.3 billion (£4.1bn) from January to May, with most of those deals brokered before the outbreak, according to figures compiled by Tech Nation and Dealroom.

As such, the tech ecosystem is showing signs of optimism with startups still managing to advertise vacancies during these difficult times. "Tens of thousands" of jobs were advertised in cities across the UK in 2019 and the start of 2020, according to the report, with salaries continuing to grow well-above inflation in almost all regions.

In terms of funding, however, London attracted the most investment in the UK and also Europe, with almost four times as much capital as the next best city, which was Paris. A large part of this funding was taken up by fintech firms, which accounted for 39% of 2020 investment.

"Many businesses are adapting and innovating to support the fight against coronavirus, demonstrating the resilience and resourcefulness of the UK tech sector," said Tech Nation's chief executive, Gerard Grech. 

"Although we are seeing many tech companies closing key rounds of funding, the picture is being monitored closely at Tech Nation, especially across different parts of the country, where access to finance may not be as strong. These findings today confirm that the UK is well-positioned to face the challenges that lie ahead and leave COVID-19 in a position of strength."

The UK has a reported 109 potential unicorns, which are companies valued between $250 and $800 million, but for less established businesses the looming recession might throw up a few hurdles, particularly companies looking for funding for the first time. 

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As the UK comes out of the pandemic and into an inevitable recession, the hope is that this record amount of funding can sustain the tech sector. However, a third of the 200 companies surveyed suggested they didn't have enough money to last for 12 months.

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