Austen Shakespeare

UK "Impact Unicorns" raise £2bn of investment to tackle global issues

UK impact tech startups have raised £2bn in investment this year as technology becomes increasingly important in tackling global problems.

The UK is now home to 12 impact unicorns - companies worth over $1bn or more in value. The unicorns include Arrival (London) Octopus Energy (London) and Britishvolt (Blyth).

In addition, there are now 22 impact futurecorns, the high-growth scale-ups, they are on track to reach unicorn valuation in the next few years. These include the alternative protein startup AgriProtein and the fusion power research energy company Tokamak Energy.

In the UK, there are now nearly 900 impact startups and scale-ups using technologies such as artificial intelligence, deep tech, big data, and blockchain to develop next-generation solutions to take on global problems such as climate change, health and food insecurity.

Across the UK, these companies have a combined worth of £50bn and have created over 35,000 jobs.

Most of the capital from impact funds is going to companies creating affordable and clean energy and tackling the climate crisis, something investors across the globe are paying closer attention to given the threat caused by global warming. Collectively, climate tech companies make up 65 per cent of the deals in the impact space.

As well as climate tech, the UK’s impact startups are focused on solving global health problems. For instance, Benevolent AI is the UK’s leading health impact company and uses big data and deep learning to discover more effective medicines and recently discovered a treatment for Covid-19.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “From world-class AI discovering new treatments for Covid-19 to green energy solutions paving the way to a net-zero future, UK tech is transforming the world for the better.

“Our ‘impact’ startups are raising investment with nearly £2bn in funding this year to help fight some of the most pressing problems we face as a planet.

“We want to harness the power of technology to make greener, healthier and safer choices and today I’m hosting the first Future Tech Forum in London to discuss how we can make that happen through future governance, policy and cooperation.”

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