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UK leads Europe’s tech startup scene over five years, research shows

Tech leads the way as UK shows 5% growth in startups across all industries

More tech startups were registered in the UK than in any other European country over the past five years, according to research by digital financial services company Paymentsense.

Between 2013 and 2017, a total of 392,627 professional, scientific and technical startups were registered in the UK – almost 70,000 more than France in second place.

Across all industries, the UK achieved Europe’s highest growth for startups – 5.09% over the five years – with technology leading the way.

Chafic Badr, head of digital at Paymentsense, said it has been an impressive few years for UK startups, particular in the tech sector.

“Over the past five years, we have seen a real move in new technology and innovation that the UK has embraced, which increased our overall startup output,” he said. “This is also evident in the successful adoption of contactless payments, which made the UK a world leader in contactless payments in less than 10 years.”

Research by Paymentsense in May 2018 found that 42% of card payments last year were made using contactless and the technology has played an important role in driving debit card transactions ahead of cash for the first time.

Badr said the tech landscape is “starting to flourish” in Europe, but there are issues in terms of finding the right product for customer demand and getting funding.

“Some tech companies might not find enough customers to adopt their product, while others might not get access to funding as easily as those operating in a more established sector,” he said.

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“Europe is definitely a great place for startups to begin. However, once they get to the growth stage and need further investment, it gets a bit difficult. It does not mean Europe is a place to avoid for startups, they should just expect to look further afield to take things to the next step.”

During London Tech Week in June 2018, experts discussed how researching investors’ backgrounds and creating a standout point in a pitch will give startups a better chance of winning funding.

Paymentsense’s data shows the UK ranking third for the number of registered startups across all sectors (1.86 million) over the past five years, behind France (2.05 million) and Turkey (2.11 million). But compared to the UK’s 5.09% growth, France and Turkey saw declines of 1.54% and 1.44%, respectively.

Wholesale and retail was the strongest sector for startups across all European countries (3.7 million), followed by tech (2.5 million) and construction (1.9 million).

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