North West Fund and Index Ventures are the most active venture investors in UK-based tech companies since 2009.
We previously wrote about London and its booming tech scene that saw funding eclipse $1B last year. More recently Google Ventures announced their expansion and increased focus on Europe with a base in London. With this news, we wanted to dive deeper into the UK’s most active tech investors overall and across multiple stages.
The data below.
Of all VCs (Super Angel, VC, Corporate Venture Groups), the North West Fund (we aggregated all subsets of their funds for this analysis) was the most active in terms of unique UK-based tech companies invested in since 2009. The evergreen fund makes the majority of its investments in the North West of England through a subset of funds dedicated to biomedical, digital & creative, energy and environments, and other types of investments. In terms of stage, almost all of North West Fund’s investments have come at the early-stage. Index Ventures and Accel Partners rounded out the top 3, as Accel had investments across a variety of stages, with the most recent being Funding Circle’s $65M Series D which included Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital, and Index Ventures.
UK-Based VCs Dominate Early-Stage
The most active early-stage tech VCs looked very similar to the overall list, with the previously-mentioned North West Fund and Index Ventures coming in at 1 and 2 with early-stage investments in over 30 companies each. Northstar Ventures, a UK-based seed investor, was the third most-active, with the majority of the Newcastle-based fund’s investment round participation coming in at under $1M.
Of the most active early-stage tech VCs, 9 are UK-based, with only US-based Accel Partners cracking the top 10. The lack of international investors makes sense, as VCs often preach the importance of local presence and deep networks within the early-stage investing ecosystem.
Index Ventures Leads Mid-Stage
UK-based powerhouse Index Ventures led all tech VCs at the mid-stage with numerous investments in UK-based companies since 2009. Notable investments include participation in Just-Eat’s Series B and C ($48M and $64M, respectively) as well as AirBnB-competitor Onefinestay’s $12M Series B.
Accel Partners and Balderton Capital rounded out the top three most active mid-stage VCs in UK Tech. Accel Partners’ notable mid-stage investments include a pair of Series B financings for SwiftKey and Hailo.
Balderton Capital, one of the UK’s largest VC firms with over $2B in assets originally started as Benchmark Capital Europe until becoming fully independent in 2007. Their notable investments since 2009 include participation in Wonga’s $117M Series C and HouseTrip’s Series B and C which cumulatively raised $57M. Both companies also count Accel Partners as investors.
The most active mid-stage investors featured many more foreign names than the early stage, with US-based Accel Partners and Greylock Partners cracking the list, as well as Spain-based Nauta Capital. Of note, Accel Partners and Nauta Capital both have UK offices. With Google Ventures’ upcoming increased presence in the UK, it will be interesting to see how the investment landscape changes, as one of the top Corporate VCs takes on Silicon Roundabout.
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