As Christmas comes around it inevitably becomes time to look back on the past year.
For some, 2014 has been downright miserable, but for tech it might well go down as the year that London came into its own on a global scale.
We saw massive investments, IPOs and further (sorry for using the word) disruption of Britain’s longest standing industry, most notably banking and property.
To summarise the the developments of the past twelve months, I have delved into the dark analytics and pulled out the ten most successful articles of the year, highlighting the highs and lows for tech across the UK
What next for London?
The year started with a big announcement, and some tension as to the future of London’s Tech City.
Shortly after the departure of Joanna Shields, Tech City News revealed that London & Partners would be taking a lead role in the development of East London’s tech cluster, and Tech City UK would be looking nationwide to grow the tech ecosystem.
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The shift of power was followed by an Accenture report that put London at the centre of a worldwide fintech boom. Fintech-dedicated accelerators starting popping up in the form of Barclays Techstars and Startupbootcamp Fintech, with Level39 also passing its first birthday and going from strength to strength.
It is testament to the sector’s growth from that point that our final print magazine of the year had a special report on financial technology. London’s place in the global hierarchy was quickly reiterated by a PwC poll in which the British capital finished top, beating all others as the greatest ‘city of opportunity’ in the world.
Davids and Goliath’s fight
2014 was also a year in which decades-old giants and new tech businesses went at it time and time again.
Addison Lee felt the pressure from the likes of Uber and Hailo (the latter of whom also pulled out of North America because of competition from the former).
Peas-to-milk brand Sproud gulps £4.8M funding from UK-based VC VGC
Estate agents also vowed to fight back against Zoopla and Rightmove by founding Agents’ Mutual, an online competitor run by some of the UK’s biggest high street agents. The new business is set to launch in 2015 so watch this space.
Another giant jumping into proptech was easyProperty. The brainchild of easyJet entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the startup raised £1m via Crowdcube and promised a no-frills take on online property websites.
London Technology Week
June brought London Technology Week and with it came an exclusive interview with former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg and the International Hall of Fame Awards.
Just after having kicked off a week long celebration of London tech, Bloomberg outlined to editor Alex Wood what New York and London have over Silicon Valley:
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To be a tech city you need the infrastructure, you need the environment to attract people and you need a diversity of people.
London and New York have that. Silicon Valley does not.
As the home cleaning market rapidly heated up this year, British startup Mopp got acquired by US competitor Handy, joining a space with the likes of Homejoy, Hassle.com and Housekeep.
It was not a year without some controversy of course. Firebox100 announced it would be offering £25,000 to 100 different startups for 7% equity in each one. The scheme came under criticism, most notably from the TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher, for taking advantage, particularly due to some of the charges that the startups would incur through the accelerator.
And there you have the year in tech 2014. Our print magazine has a more in-depth roundup of the all the biggest trends of this year, make sure you subscribe to receive your free copy.