UK tech sector attracts more investment than any European country

Tech businesses in London secured over a third of the £6.7bn invested in UK tech last year, with £4.7bn in private equity and £1.9bn in VC money

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The UK’s technology businesses attracted significantly more investment than tech businesses in any other European country in 2016, according to new research from London & Partners.

More than £6.7bn worth of venture capital(VC) funding and private equity funding was injected into UK firms last year, with London-based tech companies seeing over a third of that figure.

In total, the country’s tech sector saw £4.7bn in private equity investment in 2016, with £9.6bn now invested since 2011.

The data suggests that the UK’s vote to leave the European Union had little impact on investor appetite, with UK tech companies attracting more investment and more merger & acquisition (M&A) activity than any other European company after June 23. London businesses raised over £668m in the second half of the year.

Tech firms based in the capital secured £1.4bn of the £1.9bn in venture capital (VC) funding in 2016, with advertising technology, e-commerce and big data attracting some of the biggest sums. E-commerce saw a record year of £486m invested across 69 deals, while Deliveroo raised more VC funding than any other company thanks to a £210m Series E in August.

2016 was also a record year for M&A activity, with £71bn of deals completed – five times the number completed in 2015 and 2014. Again, the capital led the charge, accounting for over half of the total amount, with major deals such as Microsoft’s £250m acquisition of SwiftKey and Twitter’s acquisition of Magic Pony.

The second half of the year also saw a number of global tech giants increase their presence in London with Google announcing a £1bn investment plan for a new headquarters in King’s Cross, Facebook planning to create an additional 500 jobs in the city and Apple set to open a new headquarters in Battersea.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said: “With our unbeatable blend of talent, creativity and access to finance, it is not surprising that London continues to go from strength to strength as the undisputed tech capital of Europe.

“Despite the Brexit vote, the capital continues to attract record levels of investment and remains the best place in the world to grow a business. I have no doubt that this important sector of our economy will continue to generate jobs, investment and world-leading technology for decades to come.”

Will Shu, co-founder and CEO of Deliveroo, added: “London is a world class city where we can attract some of the very best tech talent, access leading investment opportunities and operate in a fantastic work environment. Combined these factors continue to help the company grow and create more exciting job opportunities for Londoners.”

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