Skyscanner exit for £1.4bn

| Beauhurst

One of the UK’s rare unicorns exits – for a massive £1.4bn. We look at the history of this titan of the UK tech community, and some of those that have benefitted from its success.

Founded in 2001,  the flight search engine service Skyscanner has steadily grown to become one of the largest travel comparison sites, with 50 million monthly users. Based in Edinburgh, it has become a leading light of the UK’s tech community, and unlike many more recent startups, fueled most of its early growth without external funding. But after that initial growth, between 2008-2016, the business raised £131m from a plethora of international investors, from Artemis, Vitruvian Partners and Sequoia Capital, to Baillie Gifford, Yahoo! JAPAN and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

But a quick look at their Beauhurst profile reveals one particular standout performer: Scottish Equity Partners. First investing £2.5m in 2008 for a 30.9% stake (at a £5.6m valuation), even taking into account significant dilution over time, this represents a  truly extraordinary  return – which Real Business quoted at close to x50.
 
Skyscanner is one of the alumni of Tech City’s Future Fifty, a programme to boost late-stage UK tech companies. Its exit is one of 13 from the accelerator,  including Achica, Hailo, Just Eat, Onefinestay and Swiftkey.
  

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