May 2022: a month in review with Tech Nation CEO

Gerard Grech, June 10, 2022 7 min read

This article is also available on Linkedin.

Hello. Lots to share and celebrate this month. Some highlights:

  • An epic new report looking at the last 10 years in UK Tech in partnership with Google For Startups
  • Launch of GBxAsia – a new network for UK tech entrepreneurs in Singapore
  • Innovation & growth across the UK
  • A new growth program for Net Zero Tech Unicorns & Tech Zero Pledge
  • Applications for our growth programs are now open
  • What’s in stall for next month — very exciting launch of a new service for scale-ups

Our latest Tech Nation report, ‘A Decade of UK Tech’, commissioned by Google for Startups and launched on 26th May, delves into the evolution of the tech sector over the past decade – and looks ahead to what must be done over the next 10 years to cement the UK as a global science and technology superpower, including boosting investment into early-stage and impact tech startups.

Headlines from the Decade in UK Tech Report

  • UK is now 4th for global technology investment after the US, China, and India (20x versus 10 years ago)
  • UK Technology ecosystem has grown 17times in value and is now worth just under $1Trillion
  • Investment into UK impact tech soared to $3.5 billion in 2021! 🌎

Among the report’s groundbreaking findings, we discovered that funding for purpose-driven UK tech companies (addressing UN Sustainable Development Goals) reached $3.5 billion in 2021 (almost 43x the $74mn they received in 2011)!

We celebrated the launch of the report with a vibrant event at The Truman Brewery, Shoreditch. It was an incredible evening, where we not only delved into the report’s findings and what we can learn from them, but heard from the entrepreneurs and tech leaders driving the tech revolution forward – including Elizabeth Nyeko, Founder of Modularity Grid, Vidu Shanmugarajah, Partner at Google Ventures, Joe Perkins, of Landscape VC, Natasha Lytton from Seedcamp, and Karan Pinto, Head of Growth & Product at Terra Quantum).

A successful decade of Uk Tech would have been possible without the hard work and commitment of so many people and organizations over the years, such as Silicon Roundabout, Founders Forum London Tech Advocates, and London and Partners, ICE entrepreneur network but also regionally, such as CodeBase, Sunderland Software City, Engine Shed, Ignite and Silicon Canal among others.

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Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK, welcomes an excited audience to the event.

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Introducing the ‘A Decade of UK Tech’ report on stage at The Truman Brewery.

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Tech Nation Abi Mohamed, hosted a panel discussion about the future of UK tech with Simon Menashy (Partner at MMC Ventures), Rayna Patel (Co-founder of Vinehealth), Jeevan Sunner (Investor at Playfair Capital) & Eric Van der Kleij (Co-founder of Edenbase

Azeem Azahr (host of The Exponential View podcast) gave his views on what needs to be done in the sector in a fireside chat with Marta Krupinski, Head of Google for Startups UK, and special guest Digital Minister Chris Philp MP addressed the room discussed the government’s plans to support our thriving tech sector in the months and years to come.

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Digital Minister Chris Philp MP thanks tech entrepreneurs for contributing to society, fuelling our economy and creating jobs across the UK.

I was delighted to chat to City AM in even more depth about what the report’s findings mean for our tech sector on their podcast series – you can listen to the full episode here.

International news

After two years of no international travel, it was brilliant to visit Singapore at the end of the month, where, as part of the Tech Nation International offering, we launched GBxAsia, supported by the UK government’s Digital Trade Network.

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At the launch of the GBxAsia launch in Singapore.

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Our Director of International, Sam Evans, speaks at the launch of GBxAsia in Singapore.

GBxAsia is a brand new network for British tech entrepreneurs, powered by Tech Nation, which will bring together entrepreneurs and investors with a connection to the UK to make the most of the opportunities in Asia Pacific. The network will provide British tech entrepreneurs establishing themselves in this region the ability to access insights and advice to accelerate their growth. As part of the wider GBx global network, this is the first of its kind to connect British tech across the world’s leading tech hubs – the UK, the US, and Asia.

During my visit, I also joined Founders Forum and alongside UK scaleups OLIO, SeedLegals, Weavr and Beacon, who we have supported with their expansion into Asia Pacific. I was excited to showcase the strength of the UK tech ecosystem to investors from Asia alongside Tom Attenborough from the London Stock Exchange, and Natalie Black, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific!

We’ve also just announced the tech scaleups accepted onto our second International growth programme for companies entering Northeast Asia – a huge congratulations to these fast-scaling and ambitious companies!

Talking Tech Zero

As part of our focus on sustainability, our Net Zero team hosted an incredible ‘Tech Zero’ networking event at Level39 in May, which gave climate tech companies across the UK an introduction to Tech Zero, a group of 300 tech companies committed to fighting the climate crisis.

At the event, speakers from Starling Bank, Revolut, Depop, GoCardless and Supercritical explored net zero strategies for tech companies, explained how to get started, and delved into how Tech Zero members are working together to make progress faster.

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Our ‘Tech Zero’ networking event brought climate tech founders together at Level39 in May

Celebrating innovation across the UK

Our team (including our Chair Stephen Kelly) was also excited to head to Northern Ireland this month. While there, they hosted a roundtable with leaders from across the Northern Ireland tech ecosystem, and met with fast-scaling Belfast-based tech scaleups such as RESPONSIBLE, who are making fashion more sustainable and accessible for all (and raised a $6.6 million Seed round in January – one of the largest in Belfast to date!), Artemis Technologies, which is creating zero-emission vessels to decarbonise the maritime industry, and Cumulus Neuroscience, a digital healthcare platform dubbed ‘Fitbit for the brain’, which has collaborated with leading pharmaceutical companies to build a headset that uses AI to analyse brain activity in dementia patients. You can watch Stephen’s interview with Cumulus Neuroscience here. 🧠

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Our Chair Stephen Kelly, Client Engagement Director Liz Scott and Northern Ireland Scaling Expert Gary Davidson with Cumulus Neuroscience’s COO Siggi Saevarsson.

Stephen also spoke at the Big Data Belfast conference a week later, about how the UK has become a global hub for AI, deep tech and other cutting edge technologies. Northern Ireland’s tech community is truly driving UK tech forward, with the region’s tech scene having raised more than £100 million in tech investment for the first time in 2021.

Applications for Tech Nation’s 7 growth programmes are open! 🚀

In other exciting news, we’ve also opened applications for our 7 world-leading growth programmes! This includes new programmes focused on sustainability and supporting founders from ethnic minorities as well as driving innovation with new streams on crypto and blockchain.

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So far at Tech Nation, we’ve had the privilege of supporting 1000+ UK-based tech scaleups via our programmes, including 30% of tech unicorns and 42% of decacorns (worth over $10 billion) created in the UK’s ‘tech history’. 🦄

Callout will be open throughout June, with applications closing on the 28th June. We can’t wait to welcome the next wave of tech unicorns and ‘futurecorns’ to our network – please check your eligibility and find out more about our programmes here.

Introducing Net Zero X! ♻️

Speaking of programs….at Tech Nation, we’re passionate about fuelling the growth of companies who are helping to save the planet. That’s why we’ve launched our newest growth programme, Net Zero X, to accelerate the growth of the UK’s leading later-stage climate tech scaleups, which have the highest potential to reduce global emissions across each key sector.

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Net Zero X aims to future-proof the UK’s climate tech sector by reducing the climate tech carbon funding gap, countering the climate tech ‘valley of death,’ and supporting the growth of high emissions reduction potential (ERP) companies, primarily in hard-to-abate sectors, by connecting them to investors, corporates, partners, policy-makers and other stakeholders. This will help shape the ecosystem that founders need to succeed. Find out more and apply here!

This coming month sees London Tech Week and the launch of a brand new service from Tech Nation. More on that next time.

Next week will be , which myself and my team are excited to be involved in, and which will also see the launch of our highly anticipated Growth Platform, along with some more eye-opening reports – including our 2022 Jobs & Skills report (read the last one from 2021 here) & our ecosystem update covering the first half of this year.

Stay tuned for all this and more!