New research shows that the UK has a vital role to play in supporting European start-ups and is the second biggest investor into the continent after the US.

The research on cross-border capital flow in Europe has been released ahead of Margot James’s appearance at Web Summit in Lisbon, where the minister for digital and the creative industries will champion the UK’s tech sector and its desire to maintain strong links with Europe.

Analysis prepared for Tech Nation by VC analytics company Dealroom.co shows that the UK supplied more than a fifth (21 per cent) of $26 billion invested in European tech companies in 2017 with 1,365 investments.

US investors, who tend to fund growing companies at a later stage, made 1,067 separate investments in 2017, which represented 25 per cent of the total capital invested in Europe.

For the vast majority of European countries, the UK is the number one non-domestic European venture capital investor.

For example, UK investors were behind 18 per cent of all capital invested into Spanish start-ups in 2017, 13 per cent of the capital invested in Germany and 11 per cent of all the capital invested into French start-ups.

“UK-based investors play a vital role supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups around the world, including in Europe where they are helping to spark new innovations that will improve how we live, work and interact every day,” said minister for digital and the creative industries Margot James.

“As we forge a new future outside the EU, we are determined to remain at the forefront of the continent’s technology sector and become the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.”

Research from Dealroom.co for Tech Nation published last month showed that the UK has created a total of 60 tech unicorns, 35 per cent of the total 168 $1 billion companies in Europe.