2018 has seen levels of equity investment in the UK market return to normal, after a record-breaking year in 2017. £9b in announced equity investment was secured by British companies in 2017, whilst our preliminary figures show £7b has been secured so far this year. Although funding levels have dropped, this year has seen several very large deals for British companies who are disrupting their respective spaces. Here’s our list of some of 2018’s largest equity deals in the UK:
Greensill – $250m
Less well-known than other financial startups such as Monzo, Revolut or Funding Circle, Greensill has nonetheless taken what is possibly this year’s largest equity finance deal, securing $250m from private equity firm General Atlantic in July.* Greensill provides financial products specifically designed to make supply chain purchases more efficient. In other words, they provide businesses with alternative forms of finance, which they can use to pay suppliers quickly and on time. Despite only being founded in 2011, their turnover has already grown to £85m, with an operating profit of £25m.
*Due to recent fluctuations in the value of the pound, Greensill’s $250m was worth more at the time of investment than Revolut’s.
Revolut – $250m
The battle of the challenger banks continued with Revolut’s latest funding round, a huge $250m that saw them valued well over $1b. Backers included VC heavy weights such as Draper Espirit, Index Ventures, and DST Global. This cash is being used to expand across the Anglosphere, as the company competes with Monzo and Starling to become the go-to challenger bank in the English speaking world.
Graphcore – $200m
As we were putting this article together Graphcore completed what will probably be the last megadeal of 2018, raising $200m from a broad consortium of leading venture capital funds. Earlier this year, we predicted Graphcore would become the UK’s next unicorn. We were right – this round reportedly saw the company reach a valuation of $1.7b. Notably. the company has received constant support from Sequoia Capital, who are kingmakers in the tech world (past investments include Oracle, Google, and AirBnB).
Graphcore designs and manufactures new processors that are better able to handle AI and machine learning software processes.
Atom – £149m
Atom raised a significant £149m in March. The company is part of the UK’s challenger bank club, though they focus more on financial products such as mortgages and Fixed Saver accounts, as opposed to Monzo/Revolut, whose main attraction is better money management by way of a sophisticated banking app.
Nested – £120m
Another huge funding round this year went to proptech startup Nested, an online “data-driven” estate agency, which purportedly uses data to optimise the process of selling and purchasing homes, including determining an optimal house price, and monitoring how the property performs on the market. Nested’s founder and CEO is Matt Robinson, who founded GoCardless in 2010.