Tech Nation backs call for institutional investment in UK startups

Unlocked funding could take the UK's digital sector to "heights comparable to the US" lobby group suggests

A piggy bank looking at stacks of pound coins

Tech Nation has backed a call from the UK government urging pension schemes to invest billions of pounds into emerging startups

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, issued a joint call to action on Thursday to "ignite" mass investment from UK institutions that could unlock billions for the country's newest businesses.

"It's time we recognised the quality that other countries see in the UK, and back ourselves by investing more money into the companies and infrastructure that will drive growth and prosperity across our country," a letter, co-signed by the prime minister and chancellor, reads.

"We want to see UK pension savers benefitting from the fruits of UK ingenuity and enterprise, being given the opportunity to back British success stories, and secure higher returns and better retirements."

The intervention was welcomed by the CEO of Tech Nation, Gerard Grech, who said that the country's scaling tech firms have previously been at a disadvantage with just 12% of venture capital funding coming from UK institutional investors.  

  "If unlocked, this could skyrocket UK tech to heights comparable to the US, where pension funds already realise the opportunity in investing heavily in scaling US firms," Grech told IT Pro. "Not only could this bring huge rewards for UK tech, but for savers who want to participate in the UK's future in solving all sorts of social and environmental challenges through the backing of UK technology scale-ups.

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"We look forward to seeing the tech and investor community come even closer together, on how we back innovation with capital in a different world, with different needs."

  UK tech is arguably the country's fastest-growing sector and also one of its most resilient. Recent research from Tech Nation highlighted the financial strength of the industry with the UK recently surpassing 100 unicorns (tech companies valued at $1 billion), leaving it behind just the US and China internationally. 

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