Here in the UK we’ve been working away building our startup ecosystem for 15-20 years (just 15 years for me) and it’s only recently that I’ve felt we are finally reaching critical mass. That’s a subjective assessment combining strength and depth of the angel and VC markets, number of quality investment opportunities, number of exits (including £1bn+ exits), strength of our startup hubs, and quality of support from advisors, lawyers, real estate agents and so on. I haven’t put a number on all these things but we’ve seen great progress on all fronts over the last couple of years.
This chart from CBInsights is another piece of encouraging data. There has been a lot of talk about new UK funds coming online in 2014, but we can see that the trend has been going for a couple of years already. The YTD 2014 data goes up to the end of Q3, and if we assume the same rate for Q4 which is traditionally a big quarter for venture, then we will end up with 170 unique investors this year.
Looking at where the investors come from is interesting too. The percentage from the UK has increased from 30% to 47% since 2010 – that’s an increasing percentage of an increasing number – which is a sign that our local VC industry is building some strength now. That’s great because strong local investors are a critical ingredient of a sustainable ecosystem.
This data shows that the breadth of the UK venture market has increased. Couple that with the fact that the volume and value of investment is also increasing and it’s fair to say that we are making great progress on both breadth and depth. Exciting times.