Manchester was the fastest-growing tech city in Europe and has more than doubled its investment within a year, says a new Tech Nation report.

Annual data released by the UK tech network shows an increase in investment from £48m in 2018 to £181m in 2019, representing a 277% increase.

The report also suggests that growth in the industry has outstripped any other in the UK. The sector contributed £149bn to the UK economy in 2018, accounting for 7.7% of UK gross value added. This is nearly six times greater than growth across the economy as a whole, which increased by 1.4%.

It also reports that a quarter of Europe’s top 20 highest investment tech cities are in the UK. These were Manchester, London, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge.

While Manchester grew most quickly, London generated record investment among European cities. It secured £6.8bn in 2019, a 68% increase on 2018, followed by Berlin at £3.5bn and Paris at £2.4bn.

It claims the UK is also a world leader in producing tech ‘unicorns’ – firms valued at over $1bn. It says the UK is 3rd in the world, behind the US and China. The UK is now home to 77 tech unicorns.

It is also third in the world for its level of AI technology invesment. In 2019, for every £1 invested into new tech such as AI, robotics, cybersecurity, blockchain, IoT and mixed reality in Europe, 35 pence was invested into UK companies.

From 2015 to 2019 UK AI companies raised £3.2bn of global AI investment. Meanwhile the US raised £32bn and China raised £12bn. It makes the UK the only country of the top five AI nations to have demonstrated consistent positive year-on-year growth for the last five years.

Poppy Gustafsson, CEO of London-headquartered AI cybersecurity firm Darktrace, commented: “It is fantastic that the UK stands as one of the top 3 countries investing in AI globally. The lifeblood of brilliant technology companies is access to capital and great talent, and Britain has both of these ingredients.”

The report also shows that £1.18bn was raised by UK HealthTech companies in 2019, accounting for 61% of the total European market of £1.93bn.

Eileen Burbidge, Partner at Passion Capital and Chair at Tech Nation, highlighted the UK’s leadership in FinTech, pointing to new data from the report.

“The latest findings from Tech Nation today evidence the impact the tech sector has on the UK economy,” she said.

“FinTech continues to be one of the UK’s key strengths, with 44% of Europe’s FinTech unicorns and high-value scale-ups being located in the UK.”

FinTech remains the UK’s largest tech investment sector with a 100% rise from 2018. 44% of Europe’s FinTech unicorns and companies valued between $250m and $800m are based in the UK.