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05 Jan 2018

London leads record year for UK tech despite Brexit

Sam Clark

Business is good for UK technology as it topped the European investment tables, spearheaded by London.

In the first full year since the Brexit vote, happy venture capitalists plunged £2.99 billion into tech firms in the UK in 2017; nearly twice what was invested the year before.

The vast majority of that investment happened within the M25, with £2.45 billion of venture capital investment going into London in 2017, amounting to around 80% of the entire figure.

Not only did London receive the lion’s share of the UK’s funding, the UK took most of Europe’s. As well as finding itself top of the pecking order, the country took home more than many other major European economies put together.

Firms in Germany received £694 million, less than a quarter of the UK’s total and nearly £2 billion less than the capital city alone. UK tech firms received more funding than neighbours France, Ireland and Sweden combined.

Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, stated his intention to ultimately overthrow Silicon Valley, saying: “Today’s record investment figures are further proof that London is the undisputed tech capital of Europe and I am committed to ensuring we take over from Silicon Valley as the world’s leading tech hub.”

The mayor also made reference to fears over the state of immigration in the UK following its departure from the European Union, saying, “technology entrepreneurs and businesses are attracted to our great city for its diverse talent pool and unique business ecosystem and I am determined that London remains open to investment and the best tech talent from all over the world.”

Some major deals that contributed to such an exceptional year for the capital city include a £391 million funding round into game development platform unicorn Improbable and £364 million into popular takeaway app Deliveroo.

However, the highest proportion of investment went into the pockets of London based fintech bosses, with a total of £1.34 billion going in that direction. Other major winners were artificial intelligence firms such as Callsign, which received funding of around £27 million.

Eileen Burbidge, partner at VC firm Passion Capital, said: “It’s a testament to our exceptional entrepreneurs that the UK tech sector continues to produce companies that are leading in the development of cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and fintech.

“This environment and ecosystem of innovation presents tremendous opportunities for investors and will help to attract global investment into the UK’s digital economy for many years to come.”

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