Move over fintech! These are the two big tech trends taking off in London
As the momentum of London Tech Week continues, Russ Shaw explores how the capital is becoming a "fertile bed" for new verticals in the digital sector...
London is one of most diverse cities on the planet. It’s a place where tradition meets innovation and a melting pot for different cultures, views and ideas.
In the tech sector, this has been reflected in the diversity of the sub-sectors that are springing-up all around us.
From fintech to foodtech and everything in-between, London is home to almost any tech sub-sector or ‘vertical’ you can imagine. Over the last five years, the city has reinvented itself as a global technology hub by becoming a fertile bed for new ideas from across the tech spectrum, creating a culture that rewards risk and encourages innovation.
Whilst the strength of the city’s fintech sector often makes the headlines, we have also seen a number of less visible, but equally fascinating, verticals grow alongside the existing ones.
This year, two tech trends in particular have caught my eye…
The first is the rise of ‘deeptech’, representing firms that work with sophisticated infant technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and realities – think DeepMind and Improbable.
Deeptech has developed an appetite for investment, attracting capital from venture capital investors looking to bet big on Europe’s next tech success story. As a result, verticals like AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) are beginning to mature; growing in scale as potential gradually becomes reality.
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Deeptech is operating at all stages of the ecosystem, with firms turning the heads of investors by innovating in areas that have previously been the domain of the tech giants.
This has led to London developing its credentials as the location of choice for deeptech start-ups, building on its successes in digitising historical strengths. Because of this, London is set to be at the forefront of a new wave of breakthroughs, playing a leading role in development of technologies that will precipitate a fundamental transformation in the way we live.
Similarly, an explosion in creativetech has typified the city’s ability to use its history as a resource for innovation.
On Tuesday 13 June, the Creative Industries Council hosted Createch 2017, a festival that aimed to highlight the incredible work being done in London’s creativetech sector.
Forums like Createch 2017 help to shine a light on the creativetech ecosystem, examining the way in which, by co-opting existing legacy strengths, London has built a new tech vertical with creativity and innovation at its core.
We have seen new creativetech businesses—Metail, FrontRow, GreenShoot, Slido, Bubbl, Adbrain and so many more–start to disrupt London’s established creative industries, with the city’s startup culture driving transformation in sectors like fashion, games, design, media and marketing.
New verticals = cementing London’s reputation as the top tech hub
The introduction of new verticals can power London’s growth, helping its digital sector develop as businesses look to use technology in an increasingly innovative way.
As we look to secure London’s future, the creativetech and deeptech revolutions can be a resource for new ideas, playing a crucial role in establishing the city’s status as an international tech hub.
Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw is blogging for Startups.co.uk daily throughout London Tech Week 2017. Read his first blog on why London is open for business here.