Despite a degree of uncertainty as the UK government prepares to trigger Article 50, the London technology scene continues to thrive. In a new KPMG survey, the capital is placed above all other European cities as an up-and-coming global hub for the technology industry, ranking fifth after Shanghai, New York, Tokyo and Beijing.
Technology in London is rarely out of the media headlines. Whether it’s the Queen opening a National Cyber Security Centre with a view to making UK cyber protection more public facing and accessible, or Visa opening a tech innovation centre in Paddington to demonstrate emerging technologies and provide a space for financial institutions, there’s always something going on.
Accessible investment for London technology
Investment in new technology companies remains strong, with London start-up businesses receiving more funding than any other European city last year. Earlier this month, GV – formerly known as Google Ventures – invested £20 million in London fintech start-up Currencycloud, and LoopMe – a London-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-up – secured $10 million from a variety of investors. When describing the city’s growing tech sector, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency London & Partners explains:
“As Europe’s leading financial capital, London is teeming with business angels, crowd-funding schemes, and experienced venture capital mentors.”
The success of early start-up tech businesses in the capital is due – in part – to the accessibility of accelerators, incubators, collaboration hubs and co-working spaces throughout the city. These include WeWork, which has 17 inspiring shared workspaces across London, Level39 – Europe’s largest technology accelerator space located in Canary Wharf – and Edtech Incubator, the UK’s national education technology accelerator.
Big names are boosting the tech scene
But it’s not just start-up businesses contributing to the flourishing London technology sector. Big names are making long-term commitments to the city with Google set to spend over £1 billion expanding its Kings Cross headquarters, and Apple due to lease 40% of the office space in Battersea Power Station – a move which Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, believes “has an enormous capacity to spawn a series of complimentary companies.” One of our own clients, VertaMedia – an award-winning video monetisation platform for publishers and member of the TAG Leadership Council – has also announced the expansion of its business into the UK, including a new London office.
Tech events drive continuous conversation
Another element contributing to the vibrancy of the London technology landscape is its packed calendar of events, from international conferences to informal meet-ups and networking sessions. In addition to major annual events such as London Technology Week, and ad:tech London, a continual conversation around the technological issues of the day unfolds at a series of smaller workshops and seminars. Just last week, GingerMay PR was the media partner for the 614 Group Brand Safety Summit where brand marketers, publishers, investors, technology developers and agency leaders gathered to discuss pressing issues around viewability, transparency, ad blocking, and fraud.
London technology in a post-Brexit world
While the shape of post-Brexit Britain is not yet entirely formed, the government has already made it clear technology is vital to the UK economy and is therefore a top priority moving forward. Keen to gain competitive advantage in the field of robotics and AI, it has promised £20 million investment into these emerging technologies with a view to adding £654 billion to the British economy by 2035.
In setting out its post-Brexit digital strategy the government emphasised the importance of digital skills, and announced pledges from Google, Lloyds Banking Group, and Barclays to provide technological training to both businesses and individuals. What’s more, encouraging the development of the fintech sector is expected to form a key part of ‘Vision 2025’ – a report currently being compiled by former Treasury Minister Mark Hoban and PwC looking at ways to enhance the UK financial services industry as the country leaves the EU.
There will undoubtedly be questions to answer and issues to resolve as the Brexit negotiations get underway, but the London technology scene has strong foundations and plenty of growth potential. From our vantage point as one of the top technology PR agencies in the city, London looks set to retain its title of the technology capital of Europe in spite of its imminent departure from the EU.
Read more about GingerMay’s technology clients here