London tech start-ups attract £2.6bn investment - highlighting UK North-South divide

The capital captured four fifths of Britain's technology VC funding in 2019

London has over 80,000 rooms and properties listed on Airbnb. Getty Images
London has over 80,000 rooms and properties listed on Airbnb. Getty Images

Technology start-ups in London attracted a record £2.56 billion (Dh11.96bn) of venture capital investment in 2019 through May 31, according to data published by London & Partners, the city’s official lobbying arm.

The figures also illustrate the dominance of the capital’s appeal: despite cities like Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh all being home to top scientific universities and notable tech firms, London captured four fifths of Britain’s total £3.17bn pounds of technology VC funding for the year so far.

The investment statistics were compiled by the data firm Pitchbook, and are to be published in full on Monday by London & Partners on the same morning Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce £153 million of new funding for UK tech companies, with a particular focus on supporting businesses working in the field of quantum computing.

“If we are going to maintain our position as a global leader, our challenge is how we develop British tech and make it even better,” Mrs May is expected to say at an event in London on Monday.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan suggested a more diverse industry might help. “As our city’s tech ecosystem continues to grow, it’s important that we encourage greater inclusivity and diversity across the tech sector,” he said in an emailed statement on Sunday.

The optimism of Mrs May and Mr Khan, supported by the record figures published to coincide with the start of London Tech Week, runs counter to concerns that uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the European Union will damage the UK’s competitiveness as a technology hub.

But it does little to address mounting concerns around the economic impact of the north-south divide in Britain. In December, an analysis by the think tank IPPR North showed that in the past decade, total public spending rose in the south of England by £3.2bn in real terms, but fell in the north by £6.3bn in the same period.

Published: June 10, 2019 09:30 AM


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