London has once again maintained its position as the top destination in Europe for technology investment according to a recent report released by Pitchbook and London & Partners. The UK’s capital city saw close to double the amount of investment than its closest rival, Berlin.
In 2018, technology companies in London attracted £1.8 billon in venture capital funding, 72% of the total £2.5 billion pounds raised by UK tech businesses. These figures stand against the backdrop of the UK’s departure from the EU, something London’s tech sector had previously warned could hinder the appeal of the capital city for companies looking to investing its digital economy.
Across the UK as a whole, investment in AI rose 47% to £736 million, while £1.2 billion went into the flourishing fintech sector. Other growth sectors included big data, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, which also saw all-time high investment numbers.
Global interconnection and data centre company Equinix has been instrumental in developing the UK’s digital infrastructure. In November of last year, the US-based firm announced the launch of a new £90 million high performance data centre, LD7, at its London Slough campus. This project forms part of a total new investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure of £295 million – an investment that was described by Prime Minister Theresa May as 'a vote of confidence in London’s future as the world’s premier financial hub.'
Late last year, Equinix launched the second volume of its Global Interconnection Index, a market study that tracks interconnection bandwidth – the private exchange of data between companies, away from the public internet. It found that despite Brexit, London is still the most important market in Europe with regards to data.
A key driver of London’s data growth is its strategic positioning, where fintech companies are nearby to a world-leading financial district and health tech companies operate in close proximity to pharmaceutical and life-science firms. London is also a global leader in AI and broader technology, due to its links to world-renowned universities such as Oxbridge and University College London. These burgeoning industries were instrumental in Equinix’s decision to build its LD7 data centre in London, enabling businesses old and new to scale up and compete in the global digital economy.