UK tech investment at an all-time high
INVESTMENT in the UK technology sector reached an all-time high in 2017, with London-based firms attracting the lion’s share of funding, research reveals.
The data from London & Partners shows the UK is Europe’s leading country for global tech investors, receiving more venture capital funding than any other European country in 2017.
UK firms collected £2.99bn of investment – almost double the £1.63bn invested in 2016. The amount of funding was almost four times greater than the £694m invested in Germany and more than France, Ireland and Sweden combined.
London’s tech firms raised a record £2.45bn and accounted for around 80 per cent of all UK venture capital tech funding in 2017. This was significantly higher than any other European city, including Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris, according to the data compiled by PitchBook.
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Some of the biggest deals last year included a £391m investment into virtual simulation firm Improbable, £364m into online takeaway company Deliveroo, and £255m into mobile operator Truphone.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the figures are further proof that London is the “undisputed tech capital of Europe”.
He added that he was committed to ensuring London takes over from Silicon Valley as the world’s leading tech hub.
“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,” said Eileen Burbidge, partner at Passion Capital.
“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.”
Fintech was the leading sector for investment in 2017, with UK financial technology firms attracting a record £1.34bn. London’s fintech firms led the way, accounting for over 90 per cent of all money raised by the sector.
Last year saw major funding rounds for fintech companies like money transfer service TransferWise (£211m), peer-to-peer business lender Funding Circle (£81.9m) and mobile-only bank Monzo (£71m).
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London’s artificial intelligence (AI) companies also saw elevated levels of funding in 2017, with investment increasing 50 per cent to over £200m. This trend was replicated nationally, with UK AI companies raising a record £488m – double the amount raised in 2016.
Last year saw a number of the world’s leading tech companies pledge their long-term commitment to the capital, with significant investments from Amazon, Apple and Google.
In the second half, Spotify announced plans to expand its R&D operation in London and double its headcount, while US tech giant Facebook confirmed it will create an additional 800 jobs for its new London headquarters.