Almost 20,000 tech startups launched in 2020

UK flag with a circuit pattern in the background

A new tech business was launched every 30 minutes in the UK last year with almost 20,000 new startups registered between January and December 2020.

This has led to a swift recovery in digital jobs, according to Tech Nation, with adverts for new roles back to pre-pandemic levels.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) states that there were 19,465 new startups registered in the 'information and communication' sector in 2020 and, as of 5 March 2021, there were 116,000 live vacancies within the tech sector. There were also more than 185,000 tech jobs listed over the first two months of the year with average salaries in IT reaching £54,726 - up from £51,219 just 12 months ago.

The figures, which have been analysed by Tech Nation and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), suggest that the tech sector now makes up more than a seventh (14.3%) of all vacancies in the UK.

As the pandemic spread to Europe in February and March last year, a number of experts suggested that the crisis presented an opportunity for new ideas and businesses based on previous global issues.


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"Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the UK's entrepreneurial spirit cannot be dampened," Tech Nation CEO Gerard Grech said. "Startups and scale-ups formed during these last few months will be ones to watch in the future. Just as companies like Zoopla, DeepMind and Wise were born out of the last financial crisis, these figures give hope that the UK's next big tech firms will be born out of this one."

The UK's tech sector has proved to be a fertile ground for capital, attracting a record-breaking £15 billion in investment during 2020. That's higher than Germany and France combined, according to Tech Nation. What's more, no other sector saw as many new businesses compared to tech, with real estate the next biggest with just 12,135 startups created over the same period.

In total there were 407,505 new businesses born across all sectors in 2020, with most of these in London (107,310). However, there was plenty of growth around the UK with firms created in the South East (54,730), the North West (43,420), Yorkshire and Humber (25,270) and the South West (26,520). Four cities outside of London - Oxford, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow - also achieved record levels of tech investment in 2020.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.