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Welcome to Tech Nation 2017, the most comprehensive analysis of the UK Digital Tech Ecosystem. At Tech City UK, we believe great tech companies are built from strong ecosystems. Our mission is to help nurture them.

Foreword by The UK Prime Minister

The Rt Hon Theresa May, MP The Prime Minister

Today more than 1.5 million people are already working within the digital sector, or in digital tech roles across other sectors, while the number of digital tech jobs across the UK has grown at more than twice the rate of non-digital tech sectors. From analysts to web developers to software architects, these pioneers of our digital economy are at the forefront of a great British success story.

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Foreword by Tech City UK Chair & CEO

Eileen Burbidge, Chair Tech City UK
Gerard Grech, CEO Tech City UK

Welcome to Tech Nation 2017, a journey across the UK’s digital landscape that provides a data-rich analysis of Britain’s thriving digital economy and clusters.

In this, our third annual report, we shine the spotlight on the UK’s digital tech economy. We highlight innovation in every corner of the UK, from Bristol to Edinburgh, with over 60 company case studies. London continues to be an international digital powerhouse and its ripples are increasingly spreading throughout the nation.

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TECH NATION 2017 KEY FINDINGS: The UK is the digital capital of Europe- a clear leader when it comes to tech investment, digital skills and collaboration within ecosystems

To produce this report we analysed more than 1,000 data points, over 2,700 survey responses from digital tech founders and employees and incorporated insights from over 220 community partners across the UK.

The findings are clear – when it comes to digital tech investment, talent and skills and digital collaboration the UK is a leader within Europe and on the international stage.



1) DIGITAL TECH INVESTMENT: In 2016 UK digital tech investment reached £6.8 billion, that’s 50% higher than any other European country

In 2016 the UK secured £6.8 billion in venture capital and private equity investment, that’s over 50% more than any other European country. Over the past five years London has attracted more investment than Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam combined.

Country Digital Tech Investment £bn (2016)
UK 6.8bn
France 2.4bn
Germany 1.4bn
Netherlands 1.3bn
Denmark 1.0bn
Italy 0.8bn
Spain 0.8bn

Source: Pitchbook, Tech City UK, 2016

2) DIGITAL TECH TALENT: The UK is home to 8 of Europe’s top 20 universities, more than any other European country


Country Number of universities in top 20
United Kingdom 8
Germany 4
Netherlands 3
Switzerland 2
Sweden 1
Belgium 1
France 1

Source: Times Higher Education World Varsity Rankings, 2016-17

The UK is home to 8 of Europe’s top 20 universities. Universities are essential building blocks of digital ecosystems. They generate skills and innovation while attracting investment and talent.


3) DIGITAL TECH COLLABORATION: London hosted 22,000 Meetups in 2016, that’s three times as many as in Berlin, Amsterdam or Paris

In 2016 London hosted 22,000 tech related Meetup events – nearly three times as many as Berlin, Amsterdam or Paris. Interpersonal networking is critical to the UK’s success and the face-to-face networking that these Meetups enable is hugely important to the growth and success of digital businesses.




City Number of Tech Meetups (2016)
London 21866
Berlin 7963
Amsterdam 7915
Paris 7581
Oslo 3490
Zurich 3373
Barcelona 3286
Madrid 3225
Munich 3012

Source: Meetup, 2016

4) DIGITAL BUSINESS GROWTH: The turnover of digital tech businesses reached £170 billion, an increase of £30 billion in just five years

The turnover of the UK digital tech industries was estimated at £170 billion in 2015. This is a growth rate of 22% (or £30 billion) in five years. Over the same period, the total number of UK digital tech businesses grew by 28%, more than twice as fast as non-digital businesses. In London, a new tech business is formed every hour.

Year Digital Business growth Non Digital Business growth
2011 100% 100%
2012 103% 101%
2013 112% 105%
2014 119% 109%
2015 128% 113%

Source: BSD, Tech City UK, 2015

5) DIGITAL TECH JOBS: There are now 1.64 million digital tech jobs in the UK, and the digital sector is creating jobs 2X faster than the non digital sector



Year Number of Digital Tech Jobs (Millions)
2014 1.56mm
2015 1.64mm

Source: BSD, Tech City UK, 2015

The UK has 1.64 million digital tech jobs. The growth rate of digital jobs was more than double that of non-digital jobs between 2011 and 2015. Furthermore, these jobs are highly skilled and highly paid, contributing to the productivity and growth of the wider economy.


6) REGIONAL TECH INVESTMENT: In 2016 regional clusters attracted more than £4.5 billion in digital tech investment, reflecting a network of innovative excellence across the nation

Year % of Digital Tech Investment in UK clusters (excl London)
2012 74%
2013 34%
2014 44%
2015 40%
2016 68%

Source: Pitchbook, Tech City UK, 2016

Nearly 70% (68%) of total UK digital tech investment in 2016 was in regional clusters beyond London. Tech businesses in these clusters raised more than £4.6 billion in funding. Six clusters alone attracted nearly £700 million investment between them in 2016: Edinburgh (£159 million) Cambridge (£153 million), Bristol & Bath (£109 million), Oxford (£106 million), Manchester (£78 million), and Sheffield (£61 million).


7) DIGITAL TECH PRODUCTIVITY: The economic contribution of the UK digital tech worker is almost twice as high as the non-digital worker

Digital tech workers are helping to boost the wider UK economy through higher productivity levels per worker. The GVA of a digital tech worker is now 2X higher than a non-digital worker, (£103,000 compared to £50,000). This productivity gap has grown from £48,000 to £53,000 over the last five years – further evidence of the significant value that the digital tech sector is adding to the broader UK economy.

Non Digital GVA per worker (£k) Digital GVA per worker (£k)
2011 44 92
2012 45 92
2013 46 93
2014 49 97
2015 50 103

Source: ONS Annual Business Survey/ONS Business Structures Database

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The most comprehensive view of the UK digital tech economy and ecosystem, from Tech City UK.