Who are the UK's tech unicorns and how did they reach their valuations?

Thomas Macaulay
Thomas Macaulay

Thomas Macaulay

Tom is a senior online editor across Computerworld UK, Techworld & CIO. He studied English Literature and History at Sussex University before gaining a Masters in Newspaper Journalism from City University. He's particularly interested in the public sector and the ethical implications of emerging technologies.

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Sightings of the mythical unicorn have become more common in the UK. The country has been the birthplace of over 70 startups valued at over £1 billion and trails only the US and China in the global ranking, according to data from Tech Nation and Dealroom.

However, there are growing signs that they might be part of a dying breed. The high-profile debacle of WeWork's IPO and the string of other unicorns that have recently gone public in the US while remaining unprofitable have caused concern among investors that these companies are overvalued and that their founders have excessive voting control over the businesses.

Read next: Five takeaways from the WeWork IPO

The dramatic drop in the valuation of BenevolentAI suggests that these investor fears have spread across the Atlantic. Nonetheless, investment banking firm GP Bullhound predicts that 17 more companies in the UK will join the unicorn blessing by 2021, including challenger bank Starling, payments company GoCardless and lawtech startup Luminance.

We'll be checking if they can progress onto our list of UK unicorns, ranked below in order of most recent valuation.

Read next: What is a tech unicorn? And where did the term come from?

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