Technology companies in London attracted $2.29 bn in venture capital funding, which was 72% of the total $3.18bn raised by UK tech businesses, according to data from funding database PitchBook on behalf of the Mayor of London.
Eileen Burbidge, a partner at venture capital firm Passion Capital, stated that London was the leading hub for financial technology thanks to its position as one of the world’s biggest financial centres, while its universities helped to create companies offering Artificial Intelligence (AI).
“We get a lot of calls and inquiries from investors in the U.S. and Asia looking for fintech opportunities,” she told Reuters.
“In fintech, AI and a few other sectors such as life sciences and robotics, London genuinely leads the world.” She added.
London mayor Sadiq Khan however, has warned that Britain’s departure from the European Union could damage its appeal. Burbridge however, stated that there was no sign of this happening yet, beyond companies asking a lot of questions when looking to hire from abroad.
PitchBook data showed that both Berlin and Paris gained ground against London in the race for funds across Europe, and that London failed to match the record levels it attracted in 2017, despite the gap remaining significant.
Berlin attracted $1.19bn worth of investment in 2018, almost double the previous year’s total, while $1.01mn went to tech groups in Paris as President Emmanuel Macron stepped up his promotion of the country.
In Britain as a whole, investment in AI rose 47% to $937mn while $1.52bn went into the booming fintech sector and companies such as digital banks Revolut and Monzo.
Total venture capital funding in European tech slipped slightly in 2018, with $13.30bn raised, against $13.33bn in 2017.