Investment in UK tech start-ups hit an all-time high last year hitting £10 billion. That’s more than the US and China. Unicorn companies such as Monzo, Ovo Energy and Trainline have helped the growth of investment but what does this mean for the next generation of start-ups? Is the VC route the best way to success? What if there was a better way the can give you a higher chance of success?

Scrabble letters forming a word "investment" on a brown desk

The UK gets the most investment

So, it is now official, which is big news to me, but it’s true, because CITY.A.M says so, that the UK is now beaten the entire world getting the most investment into it in 2019. Around a casual 10 billion, according to the article. What does it mean? I mean, for me, a) I was surprised because it talks around how we’ve actually had more success than the USA, who would have thought, and China, which again, I’m marginally surprised, but in a good way. So, effectively, their investments fell, as we’ve grown. We’ve got 10 billion coming in.

Scrabble letters forming a word "investment" on a brown desk
view of the city, the investment centre of London, on a grey day

London is a great ecosystem for start-ups

London is a great ecosystem for start-ups, as everyone I’m sure knows if you don’t – it’s a great ecosystem for start-ups. We have obviously things like Tech City, Shoreditch creative hub we have Soho, we’ve got some money knocking around up in Mayfair to fund these things. It’s a really great place for working in the start-up world. The reason I say that marginally biased is because WeAgile works with many start-ups, we actually help best practice them through the concepts right through to, ideally, capital events. But the good thing is, we’re here to help start-ups, the ecosystem is there for start-ups. And according to this article, the money is there for start-ups. So, and this is not my words, this is THE words from the article, “London now stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of San Francisco, Beijing and New York.”

Tech Unicorn on Shoreditch High Street station wall

Have you seen any unicorns?

For me, this is a great time, it’s 2020 – an exciting time for the start-up world. So, what I’m trying to get to is – Great, big thumbs up! And obviously, we’ve produced in London unicorns which are exceedingly rare (that’s why they’re called unicorns), but they are – they exist. And they come from London. So historically, things like Monzo are based here in Finsbury Square, a big player in the game. Last year, like OVO Energy, Trainline which you will know about if you’re from the UK. If you’ve not come over, we’ll give you a hug.

Tech Unicorn on Shoreditch High Street station wall
a tiny pink piggy-bank

Can you attract capital?

Now, that’s one side to this. The downside or the concern of this, as mentioned at the very end, which is quite a weird way to end the article, but I guess it’s fair – they state here that “access into funding is the foundation for growth and domestic innovation could be impacted by our next wave if entrepreneurs fail to attract the capital they need to grow now”.

So, if you’re a budding entrepreneur from the kind of millennial generation or younger than that, or even sort of in my world of age where I’m sort of one foot in the millennial world, and one foot out, there’s a lot of money there, but unless we’re going to find ways to secure that and operationalise that in a good way, then we should really think hard about how that is done. Because as we know, a great idea is a great idea, but to turn that idea to action is a big thing. It requires teams, it requires the operation and it requires capital. Can you even attract capital? That’s a big thing. Are you passionate about your projects and your start-up, but you’re not so comfortable talking to VCs or Angel investors or just investors in general? That’s something that we see a lot from the WeAgile world.

WeAgile Investment team working at a desk on a startup project to raise capital for the client

It's all about the right team

We have great start-ups who sometimes aren’t necessarily the frontman for investment talks, that’s something we’ve helped a lot with in the last year, especially around operationalising the cash. What I mean by that is, you can get money, you can use money, you can market your new start-up, you can hire some people maybe. Usually though, what we’ve seen is – to utilise that money effectively with industry-leading experts, is to find a bespoke team or tribe, people that can go out there and do exactly what is needed for that business or specialise in exactly what industry you’re in and has skills that you need – that’s exactly what WeAgile do for start-ups. So, you need a digital product team or a marketing team, or you’re building a financial arm the business to help advise you, or interim CTOs, whatever – we can build these teams for you. That’s what operationalising the cash means to us. It’s like, how do you effectively use the cash to lower the risk of failure, keep your runway going into the next capital event and ensure that every step of that journey is utilising the most cost-effective way with the most experienced personnel around you which ultimately again, it’s all about risk-taking and for us like we want to try and drive down that insane stat I heard recently – about nine out of 10 start-ups that are funded fail – which for VCs is fine because the one that makes it, funds their world and cuts their losses off, and it’s fine for them.

WeAgile Investment team working at a desk on a startup project to raise capital for the client
Light box sign with text 'Turn Ideas Into Reality'

Reach out if you need help with turning your idea into reality

I’m coming more from the creative side and the start-up side, where actually I would love to see a way in which we can find ways for start-ups to not be a stats that get lost in the ether, and the ones that make it – make it, the ones that don’t just, you know, I assume roll down and end up not being what they wanted to be. So, for me, it’s all about risk mitigation.

But ultimately – it’s a great time for start-ups! I would love to figure out ways to work with more start-ups and just see how we can help with this, whether that be helping them through rounds or whether that be using this money that is so evidently there to be to be used. Check out what we do. And if you are a budding start-up or someone with an idea who is at the point they’ve started, they may be about to get some funding, and they just want someone to kind of wrap their arms around and help them figure out how to use that progress – that’s what we like to do. So, I would encourage you and welcome you wholeheartedly to give us a shout out. And even if you don’t – Best of luck to everyone in the start-up community that is out there utilising this 10 billion that’s been put into the marketplace.  Keep on trying to inspire and keep on trying to win if you’re start-ups!

Chris Bradshaw


Leave a Reply