With the countdown to freedom-day fast approaching, it’s fair to say that the thought of returning back to the somewhat alien concept of “normality” is an exciting but daunting prospect.
Over the past year, we have numbed ourselves to the proliferation of fear-inducing headlines that have dominated our screens and papers. Tech, however, is one sector that has shown enormous resilience throughout the pandemic. While other industries have been met with more concrete barriers, the UK tech sector has kept its head well above water and remained a key industry in supporting the economy.
Like a diamond in the rough, the tech sector provides us with genuine reasons to feel more optimistic moving forward. So, as we prepare for our debut back into what can only be described as a distant memory, we should reflect on the leaps and bounds that tech has made in the face of adversity. More importantly, we should celebrate the positive contributions that technology has made in helping us carve the path to freedom day.
One cause for optimism comes in light of record-high UK venture capitalist investment in 2020, putting a positive spin on recent economic fallout. The UK is quickly creeping up the leaderboard having secured $15bn in 2020 according to Tech Nation. Despite the challenging conditions, the UK tech investment market is looking victorious, taking the bronze spot for global VC investment. With the majority of investment channeled into health and wellness companies, we can see that “tech for good” is now setting the pace for the industry whilst contributing to positive social change, having raised $38bn in 2020 alone. With Freedom Day around the corner it’s safe to say that the digital sector has helped to champion the field of COVID-19 from NHS apps to Zoom calls. These platforms have not only enabled us to navigate uncertain times but have also provided us with reassurance for the future.
Hot girl summer
Whilst we may not be jetting off on holiday just yet, quarantine lists haven’t held back the achievements of women in the tech industry over the past year. With only 5% of women in tech typically holding top leadership positions, the Harvey Nash Tech Survey 2021 offers some upbeat data on the transforming tech landscape in the wake of COVID-19, predicting a boom for future female leaders in the industry. Women are clearly breaking the mold in 2021, with an unprecedented amount now taking up entry and managerial positions, rather than C-suite levels. Equally, female tech entrepreneurship in 2021 is receiving the recognition it deserves. The Women in Tech Excellence Awards and the Women in Tech Awards celebrate how female talent has contributed to innovative solutions that have worked to overcome the struggles of the pandemic.
A growing startup and scaleup scene
The tech startup and scaleup scene in the UK has continued to flourish throughout 2021, helping to kickstart confidence in the market once again. Now valued at $585bn, the scaleup ecosystem grows evermore vibrantly in tandem with the changing world we find ourselves, working to both disrupt and transform incumbent industries. This trend has soared in recent years as the market grew 120% from 2017 to 2021, blossoming into a thriving branch of the tech industry. The fertile UK startup and scaleup landscape have reached new heights to surpass that of Germany which hit a milestone of $291bn in 2021. This is another compelling reason to look at the future more brightly and appreciate how tech is positively shaping how we live and work.
Glow up Britain
With the first quarter of the business year having passed, the UK tech sector has bagged an unprecedented £4.45 bn in market capitalisation. In the latest round of play, UK high-growth companies scored a record 465 deals in the tech sector, providing momentum to the sector as we navigate economic recovery. As the economy gets back on its feet, tech puts us in good stead, storming ahead of other contestants. Unsurprisingly, FinTech locks in the deal, holding first place for a staggering 82 deals in 2021 so far. Perhaps the success of the FinTech sector reminds us to remain hopeful in tech as a guide to the future.
From scaleups to capital investment, the tech sector has clearly bolstered optimism as we enter a new phase of the virus. This spurs us to use tech in a positive way, as a guide to generally living more progressively and consciously.
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