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  • 49% of the UK’s fastest-growing startups have at least one immigrant co-founder.

  • The immigrant co-founders of the UK’s fastest growing businesses come from 32 different countries

  • 8 of the UK’s 13 unicorns have at least one immigrant co-founder, including Transferwise, Oak North and Deliveroo.

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While just 14% of UK residents are foreign-born, 49% of the UK’s fastest-growing startups have at least one foreign-born co-founder.

UK Population

Top 100

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Case Studies

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The fast-growing startups co-founded by immigrants in the Top 100 have attracted a combined £3.6bn in investment.

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Christian Nentwich, Duco

Christian Nentwich moved to the UK from Austria aged 19 to study Computer Science at University College London. After completing his PhD, he founded multiple companies, one of which became Duco, whose mission is to "make managing data easy". Primarily focused on financial services (“for now”), Duco “makes it easy for non-technical people to detect data quality problems that can have a big impact on their business”.

Duco employs over 100 people globally, including 60 within the UK. It’s growing fast too, they doubled their head count last year. He believes taking more people through the “fast growth experience is super important.” Commenting that “there is a shortage of that sort of talent in the UK, and every company that goes on this journey helps the UK get skills that are in short supply”

Being an immigrant helped Christian become a founder. “There is definitely something very motivational about showing up in another country with nothing but a suitcase and having to struggle to get ahead, to learn, and to heavily network to meet people. I guess it forces one to be creative in ways that are way out of the comfort zone.”

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The immigrant co-founders of the UK’s fastest growing businesses come from 32 different countries

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Mats Stigzelius, Takumi

Finnish serial entrepreneur Mats Stigzelius is the co-founder and executive chairman of Takumi, a platform that connects Instagram influencers with brands and agencies. The venture-capital backed startup is headquartered in London and has offices in Berlin and New York.

Mats moved to the UK to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Manchester and decided to stay as he felt “very much at home in the UK”. After 10 years of what he calls the “golden handcuffs of a successful corporate career” he finally made the jump into entrepreneurship.

He is proud of setting up Rainmaking Loft (one of the UK’s first co-working spaces) and his impact, alongside his partners at Rainmaking, on the UK startup scene.

He believes “entrepreneurial spirit is the life blood of any well functioning economy as it is these new businesses and innovations that drive tomorrow's growth and economic activity. There is always more that the government can do to help true entrepreneurs in making the UK their home, though I do feel the UK is much better at this already than most other countries.”

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