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Tech London Advocates: retail will produce the next herd of unicorns

The retailtech sector, encompassing everything from Ocado to blockchain-based product verification startup Provenance, will produce London’s next herd of tech unicorns, that’s according to research from Tech London Advocates.

The startup network asked its members where they think the next wave of billion-dollar companies will come from, with retailtech coming in first, backed by 17% of advocates, followed by IoT on 16%, healthtech on 15%, and cybertech on 11%.

But 86% agreed that fintech is currently the only sector in London with a globally-competitive advantage, particularly given the Capital is now home to eight billion-dollar-touted financial technology outfits.

Access to funding was cited as the top reason London’s status has grown so significantly over the past two years, followed by government support and then collaboration with corporates.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “I am now calling upon the business community to support our future high growth verticals.

“With retail tech at the forefront, from fashtech to foodtech, cleantech to cybertech, we are seeing emerging specialisms will the potential to transform the tech landscape in the capital yet again.”

Stephen Millard, founder of eccomplished and lead of the TLA RetailTech working group, added: “London is already the retail technology capital of the world. Nowhere else has such consolidation of expertise, knowledge and accelerators all focused on driving growth in this sector.

“There is no doubt future world-beating retail technology companies are already operating in the city today.”

Yet again, access to talent was identified as the top challenge for tech in London.

The findings from the TLA survey will be discussed today, particularly the city’s emerging specialisms, at the organisation’s biannual The Many Faces of London Tech event at Here East in the Olympic Park.

Interestingly, just three-quarters of Tech London Advocates believe that London is the tech capital of Europe.