TransferWise secures £211m investment

(l-r) Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, founders of TransferWise

London leads the way for tech investment

The capital’s burgeoning tech sector attracted more investment than any other European city in 2017, a new report has revealed.

Last year proved to be a record year for UK tech investment, with London-based firms attracting the lion's share of funding, according to data from London & Partners.

The findings also revealed that the UK is Europe's leading country for global tech investors, with British tech firms attracting more venture capital funding than any other European country in 2017.

According to data compiled for London & Partners by PitchBook, venture capital investment into the UK's tech sector reached an all-time high in 2017 with UK firms attracting £2.99bn - almost double the amount invested in 2016 (£1.63bn).

London's tech sector continues to fuel the growth of the UK's digital economy, with the capital's tech firms raising a record £2.45bn and accounting for around 80% of all UK venture capital tech funding in 2017.

Some of the biggest deals last year included a £391m Series B investment into Improbable, Deliveroo (£285m) and Truphone (£255m).

Further analysis of the data shows that the UK and London remain the favourite destination in Europe for tech investors.

UK firms attracted almost four times more funding in 2017 than Germany (£694m) and more than France, Ireland and Sweden combined. 

London tech companies also raised significantly more venture capital investment than any other European city, including Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "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.

"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."

Eileen Burbidge, a partner at Passion Capital, added: "The UK remains one of the world's leading hubs for technology investors and it is no surprise to see that UK tech companies attracted double the amount of venture capital financing than any other European country last year.

"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."

Fintech was the leading sector for investment in 2017, with UK financial technology firms attracting a record £1.34bn in VC funding. 

London's fintech firms led the way, accounting for over 90% of all money raised by UK fintech firms last year.

This included a series of major funding rounds for fintech firms such as TransferWise (£211m), Funding Circle (£81.9m) and Monzo (£71m)

London's Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies also saw elevated levels of funding in 2017.

Big deals for companies such as Babylon Health (£47.56m), Callsign (£26.92m) and Starship Technologies (£13.95m) saw investment in London AI companies reach over £200m - increasing over 50% on 2016 funding levels.

This trend was replicated nationally, with UK AI companies raising a record £488m last year and double the amount raised (£232m) in 2016.

Last year also 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 of last year, Spotify announced it will 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.

If 2018 is to carry on where 2017 left off, the capital is certainly set for another bumper year.