UK equity investment deals at their lowest since 2018. Find out why in our flagship report.

Investors from abroad — foreign investment into UK startups

| Henry Whorwood

Foreign investment for UK startups. Our latest report takes a close look at one of 2017’s most interesting trends — the rise in investment from overseas.

2017 was a record year for foreign investment into the UK’s high-growth companies. A whopping £6b was invested over the course of the year, in 396 deals involving at least one foreign investor. This was £3.8b more than 2016.

What is perhaps even more striking is that even if we take into account the growth across all investment between 2016 and 2017, the proportion of foreign capital invested grew at a significantly faster rate. Foreign deal numbers increased by 66%, suggesting that the UK is a desirable home for foreign risk capital.

Where specifically is this foreign investment coming from? A report we co-produced with law firm Penningtons Manches, From the Golden Gate to the Golden Triangle, explored US investment into UK companies. What we found was fascinating.

Investment into UK companies from firms on the West Coast (predominantly from Silicon Valley) is at an all time high. There has been an impressive 252% increase in the number of these deals since 2011. In 2017, we saw West Coast investors involved in 74 deals, representing £1.08 billion in value. Unsurprisingly, most of this money went to tech companies.

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However, the US isn’t the only source of foreign funding for British businesses. European investors are as active in the UK as their counterparts across the pond, but will Britain’s exit from the EU derail the increasing appetite amongst these investors for British business? Only time will tell. But, based on our findings from 2017 onwards, the recent growth in interest shows no sign of weakening.

henry whorwood

Henry leads Beauhurst’s consultancy, and is an expert on equity finance and high-growth business. He has worked on briefs for clients including Barclays, Syndicate Room, Innovate UK, Smith & Williamson and the British Business Bank. Henry regularly gives presentations on finance and market trends at events around the country. Henry studied Classics at the University of Oxford.