Investment in UK tech at 10-year high

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Investment in UK tech at 10-year high

Investment into UK technology start-ups reached a 10-year high in the first half of 2012, with nearly £600m put into early-stage businesses.

This level of funding exceeds the last boom year, 2008, when some £550m was invested in tech companies in the first half – and is already three-quarters of the total funding committed last year – according to figures released Wednesday by Ascendant, the corporate finance advisory company.

Ascendant says the total for this year is likely to be between £900m and £1bn.

“There is a lot of money going in to companies,” said Stuart McKnight, managing director of Ascendant. “We have not seen a boom year like this since 2008.”

Much of the money is going to internet, mobile and digital media companies, as well as new cleantech businesses.

However, tech companies operating in areas such as semiconductors and software have seen a decline in funding.

So far this year, the biggest deal has been a £40m fundraising for Just Eat – an online business that allows people to order takeaway food from restaurants in their area. Enecsys, a Cambridge-based company that improves the efficiency of solar panels, raised the next biggest round at £25m.

Of the venture capital investors making investments, the busiest have been Index Ventures, Cambridge Angels, Eden, Greylock Partner, North West Fund and Scottish Enterprise. Mr McKnight said that new, smaller venture capital companies, such as Passion Capital had also entered the market, helping to boost levels of investment.

A number of entrepreneurs who had been successful in selling their businesses have also returned to the UK tech sector as investors – including the founders of Playfish, Bebo, Messagelabs and Skype.

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