Barclays: British high growth firms raise £19bn in last three years in deals involving foreign investors

British high growth companies have raised £19 billion in foreign investment in the past three years alone, according to a new report released today by Barclays and Beauhurst.

The ‘Trading Places’ report reveals that UK businesses are proving to be an attractive proposition for international investors.

Nearly half of the total equity investment in high growth firms over the past four years was funded by deals with at least one foreign investor. Since 2011, 36% of deals involving foreign investors were for companies raising their first round of equity.

The report, which includes data from Beauhurst’s network of over 36,000 high growth UK companies, also shows a boom in US investment. Over the past decade, the annual value of deals involving US investors has grown by more than 620%, amounting to £4.5bn in 2020 alone.

Equity investment into software companies (Software as a service), was the most popular among international investors between 2011 and 2020 with internet platform, mobile app, and analytics companies following close behind.

One company to benefit from this international investment is Streetbees, an AI-driven consumer insights platform, with a mission to deliver the world’s first human intelligence platform. Through capturing real life behaviour in people’s own words, photos and videos, Streetbees enables brands to understand the lives, motivations and behaviour of people in every part of the world.

Tugce Bulut, CEO & founder of Streetbees, said: “Streetbees has always been internationally minded, with teams in the UK, US, France, Switzerland and China, but our Series B funding last year provided us with the resources we needed to really step up our global expansion as a leader in AI-driven tech.

“We’ve made huge increases to our US-based team, recruiting the best in the industry to join our New York office, which has enabled us to make our mark on the North American market.”

The report also explores investment into the UK from the EU post-Brexit and via Innovate UK grants. In 2019, the value of deals involving EU investors hit a high at £2.4 billion, showing the continued importance of the UK’s relationship with its closest neighbours, whilst Innovate UK gave £1.1 billion in grants to high growth firms in 2020.

Katherine Morgan, head of high growth and entrepreneurs at Barclays, added: “More people are considering starting a business now than ever before, and it’s no surprise given the success of our home-grown entrepreneurs, many of whom have skilfully utilised international markets, generating new jobs and driving economic growth.

“It’s clear from our customers that both the EU and the wider international markets are equally attractive when it comes to raising funds, tapping into talent and introducing their products overseas.

“Their continued innovation and pragmatism will be vital as we recover from the economic damage that the pandemic has inflicted on the world.”

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