By Lane Nieset
Last year, the U.K. and London attracted more venture capital investment (and had more tech IPOs) than anyone else in Europe. In London, international investors are boosting companies in areas that are becoming the city’s fastest-growing sectors, such as blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI).
According to data from London & Partners and PitchBook, London’s tech companies in 2018 accounted for £1.8 billion (approximately €2 billion), or 72 percent of the total £2.49 billion (approx. €2.8 billion) raised by British tech firms. Berlin fell just behind London’s numbers, with £936.53 million (about €1.07 billion) raised.
Fittingly for London, a city that calls itself “The AI Growth Capital of Europe,” the world’s largest AI event for business, the AI Summit London, brings more than 10,000 attendees and 400 speakers to the city during London Tech Week in June. The city also played host to the inaugural AI Congress last September, which was called the “go-to event for all things AI—a must attend.”
London is home to AI kingpin DeepMind, but the majority of its 758 AI vendors are small or medium businesses. In addition, 13 London universities offer AI and machine-learning degrees.
With AI applications estimated to be worth $50 billion by 2025, the research and knowledge in London make the city an attractive destination for associations that want to grow in this sector. London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote recently in a document titled “London: The AI Growth Capital of Europe” that: “There are few areas of innovation that have the power to define our future economy and society more than artificial intelligence.”
It’s unclear what, if any, impact Brexit will have on such tech efforts. But London Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal told Excel London: “These figures demonstrate that London is going from strength to strength as a global hub for technology, innovation, and creativity. … Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, London will remain open to innovation, talent and investment from all over the world.”