By Ben Chernoff, Director at Davis Grant
The UK has become a hub for so-called tech unicorns in recent years, regularly topping the list of European nations for this class of businesses.
However, with a greater focus on the environment and climate change a large number of investors are backing companies that not only provide a strong return but also have a clear environmental message.
A new report by Dealroom for the UK’s Digital Economy Council found that UK impact tech start-ups – i.e., those that focus on positive social and environmental change – collectively raised £2 billion in 2021.
Further analysis of this date shows that there has been a 127 per cent increase in UK impact tech investment in the last four years – with investment up £1.7 billion in the last year alone.
There are thought to be around 900 impact tech start-ups, scale-ups and companies in development in the UK presently with many more to follow.
To get an idea of the next impact tech unicorn’s UKTN recently published a list of its top 12 prospects to watch out for in the coming year.
Amongst them is Arrival. This London-based Tesla rival is developing zero-emission, electric public transportation vehicles and vans, to fill a niche in the current market that it believes is underserved.
It has actually already achieved unicorn status – i.e., a valuation of more than $1 billion – and is already worth £6.1billion.
In the last year alone, it netted £496 million of funding from Hyundai, Kia and UPS, who were obviously interested in the technology materials, components, and scalable skateboard platforms that the company is based around.
It is also taking revolutionary steps to move to micro-factories that allow them to make vehicles and adapt to changing commercial and consumer requirements.
Another exciting UK impact unicorn is Ceres Power Holdings. It is developing a commercially viable fuel cell, which is based on 30 years of research by, Professor Brian Steele, who originally created the technology. It is valued at more $2.6 billion and has recent investment from Parkwalk Advisors and many other.
The list from UKTN also include Bristol-based global aerospace company Vertical Aerospace, which is scaling production to the VA-X4 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
Similar in some ways to smaller drones, the new vehicle will effectively create air taxis that will reduce cost-effective personal air travel on demand, which reduce congestion and is carbon free.
This company has already received funding from American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, Microsoft’s M12 and Rolls-Royce.
These are just a small sample of the UK’s tech start-ups that are focused on making positive social and environmental impacts in the years to come, but they highlight the intense interest of investors in these new forms of business.
If you are looking to launch a new impact tech start-up and need strategic financial advice, including assistance with accessing funding and investment, please speak to us.