London has retained its title as the tech funding capital of Europe after a series of mega-deals made the first half of 2017 the “best” six months of the last decade.
The news comes amid fears that Brexit could discourage venture capitalists (VCs) from investing in the London tech scene.
But major funding rounds from Improbable (£388m), Funding Circle (£82m), Zopa (£32m) and Monzo (£22m) helped the city secure a record-breaking £1.1bn in VC-funding between January and June.
According to data from London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional agency, the city has received more venture capital investment than any other European tech hub since the Brexit vote, seeing off competition from Berlin, which raised £775m.
Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, said. “The Brexit vote has understandably created some uncertainty but it is no surprise to see that London continues to attract more than double the amount of investment than any other European city.”
“The fundamental strengths of London as a centre for technology and business have not changed and we have everything companies need to be successful: policy makers, finance, infrastructure, world-class universities and talent,” she added.
Herman Narula, the CEO of Improbable, in which Softbank invested $500m earlier this year at a valuation of more than $1bn, echoed Citron’s message.
“For a technology business looking to raise growth capital and scale, investment can come from anywhere in the world, but London is a great place to be located,” he said. “London provides access to the UK’s tremendous tech talent, and is also an attractive place to work for the global talent vital to growing a tech business.”
In an interview with New Statesman Tech last month, Claire Cockerton, CEO of Plexal, a new innovation hub in East London, warned that Brexit had already made it harder for British tech companies to hire executives from Europe.
“CEOs won’t uproot their family and come to London without a sense of assurance about the future for themselves and their families here,” said Cockerton.
Theresa May has since promised EU citizens living in the UK the opportunity to secure the same rights as British citizens, if the EU makes the same offer to British citizens living in Europe. The EU, meanwhile, wants EU citizens in the UK to keep their European rights too. It remains a point of contention in negotiations.