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Tech City survey reveals UK start-ups struggling to raise capital

Optimism although half of respondents say raising capital is "difficult"

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Many start-ups in the UK are struggling to get the funding they need to grow their business, according to a survey commissioned by Tech City UK.

The initial results of the ongoing Pulse Tracker survey found that half of the 78 respondents (70 percent of which were CEOs, founders or both) are finding it “difficult” to raise capital, with 13 percent of those describing it as “very difficult”.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of respondents said they see access to capital as the biggest hurdle to growing their company over the next year.

While access to capital remains an issue for many, the results of the survey, although limited, reveal that 95 percent of respondents are optimistic about the overall growth of the UK's technology sector.

Indeed, eighty percent of respondents said they are planning to employ more people over the next 12 months and 44 percent said they are expecting to increase revenues by more than 100 percent over the same time period.

In order to get round the capital issue, a number of UK entrepreneurs, such as Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell and Stripe co-founder John Collison, have moved to Silicon Valley, where there are significantly larger pools of capital for tech companies to tap into.

Indeed, Mitchell told Techworld at his San Francisco office last month that there is more venture capital (VC) money on one road in Palo Alto, California, than the whole of the the European VC ecosystem.

But Ophelia Brown, an investor at Index Ventures, one of the "big four" venture capital firms in London, has previously told Techworld that founders of tech companies in the UK have access to about €5 billion in early stage capital, more than any other European country, adding that that's just from four VC funds (Index, Accel, Balderton, Wellington).

The survey, being carried out by Survey Monkey on behalf of Tech City UK, was sent out to between 400 and 500 people in the UK that are considered to be part of the Tech City community. The initial findings of the survey were shared with these same people. 

Tech City UK said it aims to identify the industry trends, challenges and opportunities of the UK's digital community.

“Some positive and valuable insights have emerged and we look forward to seeing how these develop over time,” Tech City UK CEO, Gerard Grech, said in an email. 

The survey findings were sent out to between 400 and 500 people in the UK that are considered to be part of the Tech City community.  

Tech City UK is inviting people to suggest areas that the survey should cover in the future.


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