London calling: UK capital top target for US tech expansion

London US tech expansion

London is the top destination for US tech firms expanding internationally and has drawn more tech investment projects from America in the last five years than any other global city.

New data shows the UK capital has attracted 251 tech investment projects that have created almost 9,000 new jobs, surpassing cities such as Singapore (154 projects) and Bangalore (121 projects).

“London is already the number one destination for American tech companies to expand, showing we are an unrivalled destination in Europe for US businesses to invest,” said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The data, compiled by London & Partners and Dealroom, has been published to coincide with Khan’s current tour of the US to attract further tech investment to the capital.

Large US tech companies already have a strong presence in London, with Google recently spending £730m to purchase London’s Central Saint Giles in the West End. The search giant is also expanding its base at King’s Cross.

“Google shares the mayor’s belief in the power of technology to drive sustainable economic growth, and we look forward to continuing to deepen our connection to the capital in the years ahead,” said Ruth Porat, SVP and CFO, Google and Alphabet.

Khan will visit New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles as part of trip to boost tourism in London amid the capital’s pandemic recovery.

In San Francisco, Khan will visit Silicon Valley to meet with leaders from tech firms including Google, LinkedIn and early-stage investor Plug and Play.

Plug and Play launched last month in the UK and plans to invest in up to 30 UK early-stage startups each year.

“We see lots of similarities between London’s thriving startup ecosystem and our original home in Silicon Valley and we look forward to exploring investment opportunities into cutting edge companies based in London and the rest of the UK,” said Saeed Amidi, CEO and founder, Plug and Play.

London and San Francisco: two unicorn hubs

Further research by Dealroom shows that London and San Francisco Bay Area tech companies receive more venture capital funding and are giving birth to more unicorn tech companies than other global tech hubs.

London’s tech sector brought in $66.1bn (£53.4bn) in venture capital between 2017 and 2021. Within 2021 alone the city’s tech firms brought in $28.1bn (£22.7bn) in funding, over twice the amount of any other European city.

The two cities have also been found to be the highest global hubs for fintechs between 2017 and 2021. This year London has brought in the most fintech investment at $5.3bn (£4.2bn).

“There’s no question London is a global hub for creativity, tech innovation and talent – that’s why it’s been home to our UK team for some time. Some of our most exciting and creative Augmented Reality innovation is built right here and we continue to welcome a wealth of talent to our growing UK team,” said Ed Couchman, general manager, Snap UK.

London is considered the tech hub of Europe, with tech startups based in the capital raising a record £18.55bn in 2021.