Edinburgh ranks fourth on list of UK’s top tech cities

Edinburgh has been named one of the UK’s leading tech cities, thanks to its high levels of venture capital funding, relevant available job opportunities, advertised salaries, number of high-growth companies, and future high-growth firms.

The Levelling Up Power Tech League 2021 has been put together via new analysis for the UK’s Digital Economy Council by Dealroom and job search engine Adzuna, with the Scottish capital in fourth place. Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford ranked first, second and third respectively.

According to the study, Edinburgh’s high status was due in part to the high average advertised salaries in the city for tech workers, coming in at £58,405, the highest in the UK outside London and the South-east, and there are now more than 2,000 tech job vacancies in the city, a year-on-year jump of 85 per cent. Additionally, 21.6 per cent of all job ads in the IT sector in the UK are advertised as remote roles.

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Edinburgh is praised for its high amount of talent and innovation. Picture: Ian Georgeson.

The authors of the report also noted that tech companies in the Scottish capital raised a collective £117 million through 47 venture rounds, the second-highest number in the UK, “indicating a rising class of early-stage companies that will go on to become future tech giants” – and including healthtech firm Current Health (£32.5 million), foodtech specialist Parsley Box (£17m), and tidal energy company Nova Innovation (£6.4m).

The city has also produced two unicorns (high-growth tech companies valued at more than $1 billion), namely Skyscanner and FanDuel, the report also noted, adding that Skyrora, the next-generation space launch vehicles start-up, is predicted to reach this threshold in the next few years.

It was pointed out that more unicorns were created in the UK than ever before, now amounting to 116, with a quarter created in 2021 alone, and nine out of the 29 unicorns created this year are outside London, including Interactive Investor in Glasgow.

Bigger slice

Furthermore, with more money than ever flowing into UK tech – £26bn this year, up 2.3 times from last year’s figure – regional cities are “taking a bigger slice of the pie”. Around £9bn of all funding went to start-ups and scale-ups outside London.

The report also said the UK Government has increased its investment in research and development to £20bn by 2024-25, and aims to increase this to £22bn by 2026-27.

UK Digital Minister Chris Philp said: “UK tech has had a truly fantastic year, with more companies scaling up on their way to becoming future global leaders. These innovative start-ups across the whole of the country are helping to solve some of the world’s most complex problems.”

Sandy McKinnon, partner at Pentech Ventures, said: “Edinburgh has steadily been growing as a tech hub over the past few years and this list recognises that. The combination of world-class universities, established IT businesses, and unicorns like Skyscanner and FanDuel means there is a lot of exciting talent and innovation in the city.

"We’re seeing this with newcomers like TravelNest, Desana, Amicus, Biomage and many others that are disrupting traditional industries – there really is so much potential around the city.”

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