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Investors pour money into British start-ups

British start-ups have raised more than $30 billion so far this year after funding rounds by the likes of Revolut and Hopin.

Private companies have received more than twice the amount of fresh capital than that amassed during the whole of last year, according to Dealroom, the data provider.

The flood of money strengthens Britain’s status as Europe’s largest technology hub. It has outperformed France and Germany and stands third behind the United States and China in early stage funding.

Young UK companies are benefiting from a global hunt for businesses with the potential to upend industries such as banking, energy and healthcare. Record low interest rates have further inflated the value of promising start-ups, creating vast wealth for founders and their backers.

The pandemic has created new opportunities for technology challengers as people turn to music and film streaming, games and online shopping and as companies have redesigned their systems to enable home working. As economies emerged from lockdowns, businesses raised their investment in technology to boost productivity and reach customers online.

Britain has ten private technology companies said to be worth more than $10 billion, of which seven reached the mark this year. Revolut, the banking app, is Britain’s most valuable start-up. In July, it raised $800 million at a $33 billion valuation.

European rivals are also creating multibillion-dollar enterprises. In the summer Klarna, the “buy now, pay later” group, was valued at $46 billion, with Northvolt, the battery producer, raising $2.75 billion in the largest financing round yet for a European company. Both are based in Stockholm.

Financial technology received the biggest slice of the new capital. More than 300 companies have raised $11.2 billion since the start of the year, up from $5 billion last year. Prodigy Finance, which provides loans to fund post-graduate degrees, banked $750 million from investors last month.

Healthcare technology businesses have received $5.6 billion, more than twice last year’s $2.5 billion figure. Exscientia and Oxford Nanopore secured large tranches of new funding this year. The latter recently went public in London.

Private enterprise software businesses have banked $3.5 billion from investors. Hopin, the virtual events company founded two years ago, was valued at $7.8 billion recently after receiving $450 million in fresh funds.

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