AI, big data and robotics are London’s fastest growing areas for investment

AI and machine learning secured £85.75m in 2016 - 20 times the £3m raised in 2011

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and big data are fuelling venture capital (VC) investment into London’s technology sector, according to research from the founders of London Tech Week.

Analysis of VC flows into the capital’s tech sector found that AI and machine learning have proved particularly attractive, securing £85.75m in 2016 – 20 times the £3m raised in 2011. The sectors have collectively attracted £207m in VC funding over the last five years, with companies such as Deep Mind and Magic Pony leading the charge.

Meanwhile, after raising just £40,000 in 2014 and £70,000 in 2015, more than £14m was ploughed into London companies developing robotics and drone technology last year. London-based Starship Technologies recently partnered with pizza franchise Domino’s to trial delivery robots.

However, financial technology (fintech) has attracted more funding that any other tech sub-sector, amounting to £2bn in VC investment over the last five years. And it shows no signs of slowing down: In the first quarter of 2017 alone, fintech companies secured £177m – more than any other quarter in 2016. Major deals in the space have included Funding Circles’ £80m raise in January and Monzo’s £19.5m Series C.

London tech firms raised £395m across all verticals in the first quarter of the year; a huge increase on the £245m secured in Q4 2016. And despite concerns surrounding Brexit, the capital’s tech community has received over £1bn of the total £1.59bn raised by UK tech since the referendum.

Rajesh Agrawal, deputy mayor for business, said:London is the technology capital of Europe. With a rich melting pot of creative talent, London is leading the way in the development of emerging technologies such as mobile payments, big data and artificial intelligence.

“Our world-class tech sector is creating jobs and growth across the city, with Londoners working alongside the best and brightest from across Europe and all over the world.”

Russ Shaw, London Tech Week ambassador and founder of Tech London Advocates, added: “Over the course of the last decade London has become a global hub for the technology sector. More recently, our expertise in fintech, AI and robotics has shown that the city is at the cutting edge of technological innovation.”

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