The UK is failing its most innovative start ups, according to one serial investor. Neil Woodford, a leading fund manager, has told the BBC that he believes the UK business world has been “appallingly bad at giving those minnows the long-term capital they need,” to grow.
The comment came as part of a BBC investigation into why UK tech start ups continue to pop up, but few actually flourish into major large employers. Instead, many are quickly swallowed up by bigger firms. Woodford pointed to the exception quality of the UK’s tech infrastructure as evidence that the country can produce the intellectual ideas to support large scale tech investment:
“UK’s best companies can’t find capital to grow’
“We have four of the top 10 universities in the world, 29 of the top 200. We do science and research really, really well in the UK and we’re generating lots of little companies,” he said, but criticised investors for not giving companies the time to grow organically, instead of cashing in too soon.
“That comes back to the capital problem, he said. “Typically, the successful businesses that reach a few million in value, have been under pressure to sell, principally thanks to the time constraints placed on those investments. They’ve been forced to sell, and haven’t had the choice to access capital here and grow organically. It’s a major capital provision problem. “