As far as investment goes, the London tech scene is booming. In 2018, the sector enjoyed another bumper year of multi-million-pound venture capital (VC) funding rounds and high-profile exits, while the city’s growing herd of digital unicorns consolidated their meteoric growth.
On the international scene, London’s place as one of the world’s premier tech hubs and Europe’s tech investment capital looks as secure as ever. According to figures from London & Partners and Pitchfork, the city raised £1.8bn in venture capital (VC) and public funding in 2018, with more initial public offerings (IPOs) than anywhere else in Europe.
Since 2016, London tech firms have now attracted more than £4bn in VC funding, almost double its nearest European rivals – Paris, Berlin and Stockholm – combined.
2018 was a particularly strong year for London’s FinTech sector, which broke the £1bn funding barrier in its own right. The capital’s digital banking unicorns led the way, with Revolut securing £179m and Monzo £105m in single funding rounds. In the early months of 2019, meanwhile, digital savings innovator, Oaknorth, secured $440m in investment from the $100bn Vision Fund operated by Japan’s Softbank.
London Tech Week’s annual industry insight survey
As in previous years, London Tech Week has set out to take a snapshot of the current state of play of the London tech scene by carrying out a comprehensive survey of industry insiders and stakeholders. Based on the results of that survey, our Industry Insights report aims to preview the hottest topics of conversation throughout London Tech Week and highlight the key trends influencing the sector.
Finance expected to face most disruption by 2022-3
Not surprisingly, given the prominence of FinTech, finance (27% of responses) was named as the sector that will face the most disruption from emerging technologies in the next two to three years. The close proximity of Tech City to The City, and the well-established links between two of the capital’s premier industries, has been driving something of a symbiotic relationship for a number of years.
Led by London’s stampeding unicorns – the city now boasts 17 – industry insiders expect FinTech to perform strongly again in 2019. Indeed, 21% of respondents to our London Tech Week Survey said they expected the sector to once again attract the most investment.
That figure was, however, pipped to the post by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which 25% of respondents thought would draw the most funding this year. This reflects the fact that AI was the UK’s fastest growing sector in 2018, achieving a 47% year-on-year increase in investment as it attracted £736m. Just under a third of respondents (32%) said they would be focusing their own investments on AI this year, followed by cloud technologies (24%).
Technology Industry Insights Report 2019