New tech startup launches every half an hour during pandemic
The tech sector has been one of the few winners from the pandemic with many entrepreneurs using the time to launch new companies.
Between January and December 2020, 19,465 businesses were registered in the information and communication sector according to data from Tech Nation. It is equivalent to a new tech firm launching every half an hour last year.
“Back in 2018 a new tech business was born in the UK every hour. We said we wanted to double that rate and we have,” digital secretary Oliver Dowden said. “Tech will lead the way in helping us build back better and it’s fantastic to see so many people kicking off new businesses and creating thousands of jobs up and down the country.”
In total 407,505 businesses were launched last year according to ONS data with the vast majority – 107,310 – in the capital.
The story of much of the pandemic for the hardest-hit industries has been one of furlough and mass redundancies. In the tech sector however job creation has returned to near pre-pandemic levels with live vacancies of 116,000 seen in the first week of March according to figures from job search engine Adzuna.
It is largely due to record levels of VC money being funnelled into tech startups: some $15bn was invested into tech firms last year, higher than France and Germany’s level combined.
The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption with everything from ecommerce to software-as-a-service (Saas) enjoying rapid growth.
Tech Nation’s data shows the top 10 UK startups launched last year were in sectors vital during the pandemic, namely insurance, health and mobility.
“Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit cannot be dampened. Startups and scale ups formed during these last few months will be ones to watch in the future,” Tech Nation chief executive Gerard Grech said.
“Just as companies like Zoopla, DeepMind and Wise were born out of the last financial crisis, these figures give hope that the UK’s next big tech firms will be born out of this one.”