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Wales tech funding bucks UK downturn

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Tech Wales

Tech companies in Wales raised £112m in venture capital funding last year, an 8.7% increase from 2022, according to new data.

Research from Barclays Eagle Labs, the multinational bank’s startup support network, found the country was resilient to the broader UK slowdown of venture capital last year. Separate data previously found that UK tech funding declined by 54% in 2023.

While Wales tech investment bucked the UK-wide trend, the majority of founders (54%) maintain that the availability of funding is holding back their company’s growth.

A report from UKTN, out today, found that attitudes to doing business in the region varied greatly depending on local geography.

Most tech decision-makers in South West Wales (55%) feel digital connectivity in the country is “excellent”, compared to just 15% in Mid Wales.

The overall consensus (64%) in Wales, however, was that business leaders felt they had experienced advantages for being based in the country.

The solid performance of Welsh tech last year came from both strong execution from established firms, such as AIM-listed semiconductor manufacturer IQE, as well as funding for smaller startups like the Swansea-based biotech firm CanSense.

Regionally focused investment vehicles, such as the Wales fund from British Business Bank, have also contributed to the country’s startup scene.

Eagle Labs, which last year included Cardiff’s Tramshed Tech in a £1.75m fund-matching accelerator scheme, also found there was a 20% boost in VC funding for businesses in Yorkshire and Humber, which raised more than £200m.

“Whether it’s in AI, chips or bioscience, British science and tech start-ups are thriving all over the country, and many are ripe for investment,” said Tech Minister Saqib Bhatti.

“We need investors to match the ambition of UK founders, and back British innovation before our best investment opportunities travel abroad for the funding they need to grow.”

Read more: Northern Ireland tech firms attract record funding

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