The Venture Capital Unit

The UK government’s Venture Capital Unit connects the best UK early-stage and growth-stage companies with international corporate venture capital firms, venture capital funds and institutional investors.

Working closely with over 200 international investors, the UK government connects vetted UK companies with international investors. The UK government also helps support overseas investors to set up UK based venture funds as well as supporting with introductions to corporate Limited Partners.

Support for international venture capital funds

  • DIT provides introductions to brilliant UK companies that are soon to be seeking investors or raising over £5m with globally competitive propositions.
  • We work across multiple sectors that are aligned with the UK Government’s strategy; supporting investment into knowledge-intensive, high growth UK sectors. These include: fintech, eCommerce, IoT, robotics, AI, Smart Cities, computer vision, autonomous vehicles, materials, ICT, life sciences, digital health, cybersecurity, therapeutics.
  • We collaborate with UK VC funds, investors, innovation hubs, university spin-outs, incubators and accelerators to explore high growth potential companies that are seeking venture capital. After applying our expertise in venture and startups, we foster new relationships for investors to companies matching their interest.
  • We also produce and share sector specific and investor-only “Lookbooks”; which are portfolios of some of the best UK companies seeking funding in a particular sector.
  • We also organise invitation-only, sector-specific showcase events, where international VC funds can be introduced to the eco-system and hear leading companies give short pitches to investors.

An active market, bigger deals

Venture capital investment in the UK is strengthening year on year, with companies such as Improbable and Deliveroo making a global impact and attracting vast sums of overseas investment. Individual deal sizes continue to grow and the market is more active than ever.

UK startups and scaleups raised more investment in 2020 than in any previous year. VC investment topped $15bn for the first time, ahead of $14.8bn raised in 2019.

Hopin became one of the biggest success stories of 2020, when its lockdown growth attracted a $125m round raised at a valuation of $2.1bn. Some of the largest European deals were UK scaleups - including digital health business LumiraDx, Financial software company Molo and Bristol based Graphcore.

The UK’s innovative and business-friendly environment supported the creation of seven new unicorns in 2020, taking the UK’s total to 80. The UK has 136 potential unicorns – companies with a value of $250m to $800m. This is more than twice as many as Germany and France, the European countries with the next largest pipeline of future unicorns.

Contact the Venture Capital Unit

If you’re a highly active investor looking to explore a relationship with the UK and access a wealth of talented, fast-growing startups the team would love to talk with you.

We’re already connecting and support many international VC funds and global corporates meeting our base criteria:

  • A clearly defined investment strategy and investment scope
  • A capability to make over £30m of new investments globally per year
  • Existing ability to make and manage long-distance, overseas investments
  • An exciting, attractive offer for UK start-ups

To find out more on how we can support your investment please email venturecapitalunit@trade.gov.uk