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Top 5 UK investment rounds of Q2 2024: UK leads European charge with £7.4B raised in H1 2024

Dealroom's Top 5 UK investment rounds in Q2 2024

The first half of 2024 has been a banner year for UK tech, according to a new report by Dealroom, a data provider focused on startups and tech ecosystems. UK startups and scaleups have raised a staggering £7.4 billion ($9.4 billion) in venture capital (VC) funding so far this year, representing a significant 16% increase compared to the same period in 2023.

This impressive performance positions the UK as the strongest light in European tech, attracting nearly a third (32%) of all European VC funding, which currently sits at £23 billion.

This surge in UK tech investment is particularly noteworthy as it eclipses the combined efforts of France and Germany, which have collectively raised £6.8 billion. Additionally, the UK has attracted more than five times the investment of Switzerland (£1.25 billion) in the first half of 2024. While we will also look at interesting findings about the investment in Europe, let’s first dig into the top 5 investment rounds in the UK in Q2. 

Top 5 UK investment rounds in Q2 2024:

1. Wayve – £861 million 

Wayve is a leading developer of self-driving car technology. Their approach utilises “embodied AI,” which emphasises training AI directly on physical vehicles rather than solely in simulations. This approach is designed to allow Wayve’s self-driving systems to adapt to real-world conditions and complexities. The company has secured partnerships with major players like Microsoft and Nvidia, and recently closed a massive £861 million Series C funding round, propelling their valuation to an estimated £3 billion. This significant investment demonstrates the confidence investors have in Wayve’s ability to revolutionise the autonomous vehicle landscape.

2. Abound – £400 million

Abound, a London-based fintech company, has become a major player in the credit landscape by leveraging AI and Open Banking data. Their unique approach utilises Render, an AI platform that analyses a customer’s full financial picture through bank transaction data, moving beyond traditional credit scores. This allows Abound to offer lower interest rates due to a significantly reduced default rate (75% lower than industry standard). 

Founded just three years ago, Abound has already achieved profitability and secured a massive £800 million debt and equity funding round, bringing their total funding to a potential £1.3 billion. This impressive funding haul, led by GSR Ventures, positions Abound for significant expansion into prime lending within the UK and global rollout of their innovative Render platform. Abound is poised to revolutionise credit decision-making with a focus on responsible financial inclusion through data-driven affordability assessments.

3. Highview Power – £300 million 

Highview Power is a global leader in long-duration energy storage solutions, specialising in a technology called Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES). LAES works by capturing excess renewable energy, like solar or wind power, by converting it to cool air and storing it in liquid form at very low temperatures. When energy is needed, the liquid air is then heated back up, generating electricity through a turbine. 

This method offers a clean and efficient way to store large amounts of renewable energy for extended periods, addressing the challenge of intermittency in renewable energy sources. Highview Power has recently secured a significant £300 million investment, which will be used to construct one of the world’s largest LAES facilities in Carrington, Manchester. 

This funding round, along with previous investments, is estimated to bring their valuation to over £300 million. The company’s focus on addressing the energy storage challenge and their recent funding success position them as a key player in the transition towards a more sustainable energy future.

4. Monzo Bank – £149 million 

Monzo Bank is a challenger bank in the UK, founded in 2015. They offer a mobile-centric current account with a focus on transparency and user-friendliness. They provide features like fee-free foreign usage, real-time spending notifications, budgeting tools, and instant access savings pots.

Monzo has grown rapidly, attracting over nine million customers in the UK and establishing itself as a significant competitor to traditional banks. Their recent £149 million funding round adds to their previous fundraising efforts, bringing their valuation to an estimated £5.2 billion. This continuous investment fuels Monzo’s expansion plans and their mission to revolutionise how people manage their money.

5. Char.gy – £100 million

Char.gy is a UK-based company at the forefront of on-street electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions. They specialise in developing and installing smart charging points specifically designed for lampposts and satellite bollards, maximising space utilisation in urban environments. Char.gy’s technology utilises existing infrastructure, avoiding the need for extensive construction and minimising disruption. 

They offer a network of over 3,000 public charge points across the UK, catering particularly to residents without private driveways who rely on public charging. The recent £100 million funding round signifies a significant milestone for Char.gy, propelling their estimated valuation to over £500 million. This investment will likely fuel further expansion of their charging network and solidify their position as a leader in accessible and convenient EV charging solutions.

AI, fintech, and energy drive later-stage rounds

A closer look at the data reveals that later-stage funding rounds, particularly in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Fintech, and Energy sectors, have been the primary drivers of this growth. The most notable example is Wayve’s record-breaking £861 million Series C round, which will be used to develop self-driving car technology powered by embodied AI. Monzo Bank also secured additional funding through a late-stage round, following its successful £331 million round in Q1 2024.

London emerges as the investment hub

London continues to be the undisputed leader in attracting venture capital funding within the UK. Investment in London has surged by 30% in 2024 so far, reaching a staggering £5.3 billion. This translates to a dominant 71% share of all UK tech investment in the first half of the year. London’s dominance is further emphasised when compared to other European cities – Paris trails behind with £2.4 billion, followed by Stockholm at £940 million.

However, London isn’t the only UK city experiencing a funding boom. Cambridge has also secured a spot within the top 10 European cities for funding, with its tech companies raising a respectable £517 million in 2024, representing an impressive 83% year-on-year growth. This growth is exemplified by Luminance, a legal AI company, securing £31.3 million, while Echion Technologies, a lithium-ion parts supplier, attracted £29 million in funding.

While the UK tech sector flourishes, a broader European perspective reveals interesting trends. Generative AI has experienced its most successful quarter ever, with a combined £2 billion raised by multiple companies across Europe. Additionally, the Energy sector continues to reign supreme, attracting the most significant share of VC investment in 2024 with a total of £4.3 billion raised.

Europe on track for record-breaking investment year

Overall, Europe seems poised for a promising year in terms of VC investment. So far in 2024, a total of 1450 companies have raised over £1.5 million each. This positive trajectory suggests that 2024 could become the third-most active year for VC investment in Europe, following the exceptional years of 2021 and 2022.

Catherine Lenson, co-COO of Phoenix Court, a venture capital firm, expressed optimism about the future of UK tech: “UK tech is on course for one of its best ever years, having raised more than France and Germany combined in the first half of the year. As late stage funding returns to Europe, we’re seeing a surge of ‘thoroughbred’ companies with strong revenues and incredible potential.”

The data presented by Dealroom paints a picture of a thriving UK tech ecosystem. With continued growth in key sectors like AI, Fintech, and Energy, the UK is well-positioned to maintain its status as a leader in European venture capital investment.

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