Cambridge has been named the UK’s leading regional tech capital, after capturing greater numbers of investors, fast-rising start-ups and workers than other tech hubs, new data has revealed.
The city fended off stiff competition from Manchester, Oxford and Edinburgh, attracting higher levels of venture capital (VC) funding, VR rounds and advertised salaries.
Cambridge also hosted more unicorns, a term for tech companies worth more than $1bn, and future unicorns than any other regional city in the UK, second only to London, according to research from the UK’s Digital Economy Council.
Cyber security firm Darktrace, analytics company GeoSpock and self-driving car start-up FiveAI are all headquartered in Cambridge, while drug discovery company BenevolentAI, which has a research lab in the city, recently announced its intentions to go public on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange.
Cambridge was recently named the “unicorn capital of Europe” in terms of the number of unicorns per inhabitant, according to separate research from VC firm Atomico.
The city also played host to a pioneering driverless shuttle trial in May, the UK’s first autonomous vehicle trial allowing the vehicles to share roads with motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Tech investment in the UK rose 2.3 times during 2021, the most significant rise since between 2013 and 2014. UK start-ups raised £26bn while VC firms raised £7bn during what the Digital Economy Council declared a “record-breaking year”.
The UK produced 29 new unicorns during 2021, including “e-Bay for Gen Z” Depop, car selling platform Motorway and insurance disrupter Marshmallow, taking the total number of billion-dollar UK businesses to 116.
Of the 29 new unicorns, nine are based outside of London, including Interactive Investor in Glasgow, Vertical Aerospace in Bristol and Touchlight Genetics in Hampton.
Software developer remains the UK’s most in-demand tech job, with an average annual salary of £64,318, amid a 50 per cent rise in overall advertised tech job vacancies compared to 2020.
“It’s been another record-breaking year for UK tech with innovative British startups helping solve some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Digital Minister Chris Philp.
“Capitalising on this fantastic investment across the country is a crucial part of our mission to level up, so we are supporting businesses with pro-innovation policies and helping people to get the skills they need to thrive in this dynamic industry.”
The top 10 UK regional tech cities