VC investment in London ‘driven by AI, robotics and big data’


Artificial intelligence, robotics and big data are among the fastest growing areas for investment, according to analysis of VC capital flows carried out by the founders of London Tech Week.

The findings show that London’s AI and machine learning firms have become especially attractive for investors, drawing in 20 times more investment in 2016 (£85.75m) than the amount raised in 2011 (£3m).

According to the research, London-based AI firms have attracted more than £207m in VC funding in the past five years. This, the research adds, was boosted by deals closed by Google DeepMind and Magic Pony.

Additionally, VC investment into London firms developing robotics and drone technologies has also increased.

The findings show that more than £14m was invested last year, compared with significantly smaller amounts raised in 2014 (£40,000) and 2015 (£70,000). This increase in funding is largely due to Starship Technologies’ £13.95m raise in January 2017.

London FinTech

London-based FinTech firms raised more than £2bn in VC funding over the past five years, which the research says is more than that of any other vertical including SaaS, mobile and e-commerce.

Financial technology companies in the UK’s capital city saw strong investment in Q1 2017, attracting more than £177m in investment. Major deals included Monzo’s £22m deal, Funding Circle’s £82m raise and Currencycloud’s £20m round.

Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, commented on the findings: “London is the technology capital of Europe. With a rich melting pot of creative talent, London is leading the way in the development of emerging technologies such as mobile payments, big data and artificial intelligence. Our world-class tech sector is creating jobs and growth across the city, with Londoners working alongside the best and brightest from across Europe and all over the world.”

He went on to note that since the Brexit referendum, London-based technology companies had attracted more than £1bn in VC investment. This, he added, signified “that London remains open to investment, talent and innovation from all over the world”.

London tech in Q1 2017

Overall, London tech firms raised £395m in VC funding in Q1 of this year. This, the research shows, is significantly more than the £245m raised during Q4 of 2016.

Russ Shaw, London Tech Week ambassador and Founder of Tech London Advocates, commented: “Over the course of the last decade London has become a global hub for the technology sector. More recently, our expertise in FinTech, artificial intelligence and robotics has shown that the city is at the cutting edge of technological innovation.

“London’s strength derives from the city’s diversity, rich pool of talent and global connections. This has been the basis for our considerable success, and it is important to protect these factors as our tech sector continues to create more jobs and wealth,” he concluded.

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