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Fintech & AI lead the way as UK beats Europe for tech venture capital

New data has made it clear that Britain is the favourite destination for tech investment in Europe.

By Sabrina Dougall

When it comes to tech investment, there’s no place like London. British firms won record-breaking investment in 2017, with London attracting more venture capital than the next nine European cities put together.

Home to the UK headquarters of major players including Apple, Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Expedia and more, it is perhaps no surprise that London rakes in greater investment than Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and every other European city. However, new data shows that 2017 was almost twice as successful as the previous year, with UK companies attracting £2.99bn last year compared to £1.63bn in 2016.

The Capital, with its burgeoning Silicon Roundabout area in the east, has been central to Britain’s international investment since time immemorial. Tech firms in London raised £2.45bn in 2017 – around 80% of the UK’s total venture capital that year. Contributing to 2017’s record-breaking figure were deals including a £391m Series B investment into Improbable, a £364m injection for Deliveroo and a £255m boost for Truphone.investment

Fintech attracted the most tech-based investment, as UK companies in this sector acquired an unprecedented £1.34bn in total. Unsurprisingly, over 90% of this investment went to London firms. Standouts of the year include TransferWise, which secured £211m, Circle (£82m) and the much talked-about Monzo (£71m).

“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,” said Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, “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.”

Analysis of new data has made it clear that Britain is the favourite destination for tech investment in Europe. UK firms attracted just shy of four times more investment capital in 2017 than Germany and more than France, Sweden and Ireland combined.

It was a strong year for AI as well, with more than twice the 2016 levels of funding raised by the nation’s capital. Forward-thinking firms such as Babylon Health, Callsign and Starship Technologies (receiving £47.56m, £26.92m and £13.95m respectively) saw investment in London AI companies top the £200m mark. Similar success was seen across the UK as a whole, with a record figure of £488m reached in 2017 – leaving 2016’s grand total of £232m in the shade.

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“Despite lingering Brexit woes, record breaking levels of investment continue to flow into the country, further illustrating Britain’s strength as a globally competitive tech hub” said Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates.

Google, Facebook and Amazon have continued to pledge strong financial commitment to Great Britain. After Brexit, Google confirmed it would establish its UK headquarters in King’s Cross, London, creating up to 3,000 jobs. In 2017, the web giant promised to build more of its data centres in the UK, following an identical move by AWS at the end of 2016. Facebook opened its public-facing ‘Innovation Lab’ in central London in December 2017, creating 800 jobs.

Data report from London & Partners.

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