Forget the Brexit scaremongering. From Silicon Valley to the Land Of The Rising Sun, savvy investors are looking to finance growth in Britain’s exciting high-tech sector.
Only recently we had a record-breaking sign of this high confidence. London-based virtual reality software firm Improbable raised $500m (£388m) in a funding round from Japanese telecoms and Internet giant SoftBank. Such a substantial sum piqued the interest of plenty of industry commentators, with many wondering if this landmark investment will set the stage for a British tech sector transformation.
At SmartKem, we fully expect to see continued Asian investment into UK-based high-tech businesses, particularly within the display industry. The weak post-Brexit pound and continued uncertainty regarding US trade tariffs both play a part, but perhaps the major driver is worldwide recognition that IP and innovation capabilities remain super-strong within our nation.
Our team has seen first hand how novel, patented and value-add technology can capture the imagination of Chinese and Japanese investors. There’s growing recognition – particularly within our own field of semiconductor technology – that British is best when it comes to transformative technology.
Added to that, UK universities are continuing to develop some of the best talent in technology. And the recent Disrupt 100* report found the UK to be the leading location for disruptive start-ups – further evidence that as a country, we’re now better equipped to take on tech super-centres such as Silicon Valley and innovation hubs in China.
Improbable attracted a $1bn valuation because it’s at the heart of the technical revolution taking place in Britain. We’re proud to be playing our own part in transforming the display industry, and welcome the ongoing trust from Asian investors in British technology businesses.