Opinion

The 10 biggest venture capital investments in British history

3 min read

23 April 2015

Former editor

In the wake of Funding Circle’s $150m fundraising, as it continues to push on with growth in the US, Real Business decided to have a look at the largest amounts ever raised.

Mega fundraisings from fast-growing US technology companies caught the attention of headline writers during 2014. From the $475m banked by Airbnb to breathtaking $1.2bn secured by Uber, money has been readily flowing on the other side of the Atlantic.

However, despite protestations that British firms are not able to compete with US counterparts because of a lack of capital, the ticket values of venture capital deals here have been growing – impressively so.

Funding Circle’s Series E deal means the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform has now raised $273.2m from six rounds dating back to a $1.1m angel deal in February 2010. Major investors including Index Ventures, Accel Partners and Union Square Ventures have pledged support, showing that UK firms can raise the money needed to compete globally.

Other exciting companies such as Hailo, Shazam, NewVoiceMedia and Borro and Tradeshift have shown that large deals can be closed, by courting both local and foreign investors.

Using statistics fro Dow Jones VentureSource, we can reveal that Funding Circle’s effort sees it slot into fifth place in the all-time ranking of big venture capital deals. Charting investments from 2000 to 2014, Dow Jones classified venture capital as including all investments made by venture capitalists or venture capital-type investors, i.e. those making equity investments in early-stage companies from a fund with multiple limited partners.

Here is the top ten:

(1) Netscalibur
Based: London
Sector: Information technology
Date deal closed: 01/04/00
Amount raised: $236.25m (£149.25m)

(2) DigiPlex
Based: London
Sector: Business and financial services
Date deal closed: 13/01/00
Amount raised: $182.25m (£111.07m)

(3) Wight Cable North
Based: Irvine, Scotland
Sector: Information technology
Date deal closed: 15/05/01
Amount raised: $156.85m (£110m)

(4) CityReach International
Based: London
Sector: Business and financial services
Date deal closed: 05/09/00
Amount raised: $155m (£108.16m)

(5) Funding Circle
Based: London
Sector: Business and financial services
Date deal closed: 22/04/15
Amount raised: $150m (£100m)

Read more about big deals:

(6) Oyster Petroleum
Based: Horsham
Sector: Energy and utilities
Date deal closed: 18/09/13
Amount raised: $150.00 (£94.89m)

(7) Antfactory
Based: London
Sector: Business and financial services
Date deal closed: 15/05/00
Amount raised: $145m (£96.12m)

(8) OnCue Telecommunications
Based: Manchester
Sector: Information technology
Date deal closed: 31/05/00
Amount raised: $120.69m (£80m)

(9) Truphone
Based: London
Sector: Information technology
Date deal closed: 01/02/13
Amount raised: $118.55m (£75m)

(10) Wonga.com
Based:London
Sector: Business and financial services
Date deal closed: 17/12/10
Amount raised: $113.99m (£73m)

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