Investment in science and technology start-ups across the UK has bucked the global trend for private sector investment to rise in 2023, according to new research.

Investment levels have tapered around the world since the pandemic, and this downward trend has also affected the UK. But the UK maintained its lead in Europe, bringing investment in science and technology closer to pre-pandemic levels.

According to a study by Barclays Eagle Labs, 54% of founders say the availability of funding is holding back their company's growth.

The results come as the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology launches a new campaign aimed at promoting the expansion of investment opportunities in the country.

The 'Science and Technology is Our Superpower' campaign aims to ensure businesses have access to the funding they need to scale their success and drive long-term economic growth.

Technology Secretary Saqib Bhatti said: “Whether it's in AI, chips or bioscience, UK science and technology start-ups are growing across the country and many are ripe for investment.” Stated.

“We need investors to support British innovation before the best investment opportunities go overseas to match the ambitions of British founders and find the capital they need to grow.”

Welsh and Yorkshire start-ups are breaking global trends

Businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber have seen a 20% increase in venture capital investment in the post-pandemic period, with investment reaching a new high of over £200m in 2023.

Welsh businesses also attracted further investment in 2023, with funding increasing by 8.7% to £112m.

UK investment environment and overseas opportunities

We found that science and technology founders are overwhelmingly optimistic (65%) about what the UK situation means for the next stage of their startup's journey.

The survey also revealed that 15.8% of founders would sell their business to an overseas buyer as their preferred exit strategy.

This was closely followed by sales through private equity (15.5%) or UK buyers (14.4%), suggesting that UK investment opportunities may move overseas.

Promoting private sector investment in science and technology

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology's push to boost private sector investment follows reforms to the Prime Minister's Office and will see up to £75bn of funding available for high-growth businesses, including science and technology start-ups.

The initiative is underpinned by a commitment between the UK's pension funds and venture capital community to work together to drive even more funding into scale-up.

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