Equity investment market update: Q1 2019

| Ella Halmari

The latest data on equity investment trends in the UK. We’ve analysed every publicly-announced equity fundraising in Q1 2019, to spot emerging trends and patterns in the market.

See our yearly edition, The Deal, for in-depth analysis and features on key market trends.

 Key findings 

Number of deals

Amount invested

£ B

Difference from Q4 2018

- %

Difference from q4 2018

+ %
  • Deal numbers fell by 17% from the previous quarter, making this the lowest quarter for deals since Q3 2014.
  • The amount invested rose 10% from Q4 2018. While amounts have been high since 2017, this is the first time Q1 has seen such a high amount.
  • Only 25% of deals were below £500k. This is the lowest share ever, compared with a high of 51% in Q2 2014.
  • The quarter saw a record median deal size of £1.5m, up from a low of £0.48m in Q2 2014.
  • No sector saw a record number of deals, although FinTech set a record amount invested of £948m.

deal numbers and amount invested

Deals and amount raised over time | Beauhurst 2019

 Investment stages 

Deal numbers fell at the seed, venture and growth stages, and remained level at the established stage. The amount invested at the growth stage remained high, with the other stages of evolution staying in line with historical figures.

deal numbers and amount invested by company stage

Deals by stage of evolution over time | Beauhurst 2019

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 Investment sizes 

We’ve been pointing out the trend for increasing deal sizes for a while now, and this course has continued into Q1 2019. For the first time, only 25% of deals fell below £500k. This is the lowest ever proportion of deals of this size, compared with a high of 51% in Q2 2014. This fall in smaller deal numbers has coincided with an increase in the number of megadeals (deals worth £50m+), of which there were 8 this quarter.

Indeed, deal sizes have been growing; this quarter saw a record median deal size of £1.5m, up from a low of £0.48m in Q2 2014.

deal sizes, percent share per quarter

Deal brackets over time | Beauhurst 2019
average and median deal sizes by quarter
Avg and median deal size over time | Beauhurst 2019

 The biggest deals of the quarter 

Oaknorth Bank
£440m
Ovo Energy
£200m
iwoca
£150m
GoCardless
£75m
Starling bank
£75m

 Sector focus 

The quarter was a poor one for deal numbers across the board, with no sector recording a record number of investments. Of course, at a quarterly level such fluctuations are normal and we wouldn’t consider this a warning sign for any of the UK’s leading sectors just yet. Indeed, Fintech saw the highest ever amount invested, with £948m going into the sector.

Big data companies also had a strong quarter, with deal numbers reaching levels last seen in Q4 2016, and £88m invested into the sector.

number of deals, selected sectors

Sector deal numbers by quarter | Beauhurst 2019

Have you seen our full year report?

The Deal is our free, detailed analysis of every equity fundraising in 2018. We look at the stories behind the deals, and examine which companies, investors and sectors are making waves.