Welsh tech firms hit £1 billion turnover, according to Tech Nation

Welsh technology businesses have reached a combined turnover of £1 billion for the first time, according to the 2019 Tech Nation Report.

Released annually, it shines a light on the progress of technology businesses across the UK and is comprised of data from Companies House, PitchBook, GitHub, the OECD, Streetbees and the World Economic Forum.

The report shows that the number of Welsh tech companies stands at 3,600 and that employment in the digital tech sector has reached 45,000. What’s more, digital tech productivity per worker is £82,000.

Some of the headline findings from the wider report include:

  • Scaleup tech investment 2.5x higher than expected based on the relative size of the UK economy in 2018
  • UK leads Europe and fourth in the world for scaleup investment after US, China and India
  • UK remains hotbed for tech talent – employing 5% of all high-growth tech workers globally – placing the UK ahead of Japan, France and Indonesia
  • To date, 35% of Europe and Israel’s tech unicorns ($1bn valued businesses) have been created in the UK
  • UK number one in the world for scaleup investment into fintech firms – generating £4.5bn in funding between 2015 and 2018

Its release has gathered significant reaction from politicians and the tech community. Kevin Foster, UK Government minister for Wales, noted how the sector is creating jobs, boosting economic growth and confirming our position as a global hub of excellence.

He said: “The innovation of our tech start-ups is fuelling this growth, with many companies coming from collaborative communities of passionate entrepreneurs.

“Innovative Welsh companies pushing forward new technologies in data, AI and cybersecurity will ensure that we are positioned to thrive in the economy of the future.”

Aimee Bateman, the founder of online careers platform CareerCake, said: “The tech scene is great; it’s filled with passionate people, fantastic networks and some of the most amazing investors.

“In the early days we were told we’d need to move to London or the US to make it in our space, but in fact Cardiff has presented us with so many opportunities.”

Louise Harris, CEO of the Big Learning Company, added: “Cardiff has a leading Creative industries sector, grown up over the last 20 years and continuing to develop.

There is a real opportunity to converge Tech expertise and innovation with the mature skills of this sector to do something truly exciting and world-leading.

“The clustering we have seen in Wales around Data, AI, Cybersecurity and IOT is a helpful way to focus resources and expertise to accelerate start-ups and scale-ups in these areas.”