With London’s tech sector having seen a record £1 billion investment so far this year, experts are predicting that the digital economy will continue to rise steeply, perhaps even so much that the capital will soon rival Silicon Valley.
Data from the capital’s promotional company, London & Partners, shows that out of the total £1.4 billion that has been invested in the UK during 2015, London’s tech sector has received three quarters of it.
The total sum of investment in 2015 thus far is greater than that received in 2014 (£1.3 billion) and vastly eclipses that of 2010.
There are many who believe that London’s tech sector will catch up with Silicon Valley, of which Nick Hungerford, Nutmeg’s founding CEO is one. He believes that the capital has the ability to be the biggest tech hub in the world, stating: “It’s moving faster and it will get there. We have the natural resources to be the biggest tech hub in the world, from the language and time-zone to the diversity of talent.”
Hungerford believes that all London is currently lacking is capital and that once the city has the investment needed, it will soon uncover companies that can compete with the big American companies like Facebook and Google.
Of the total amount of investment in London, there are four companies that account for approximately 50%: Deliveroo (£45 million), Secret Escapes and MADE.com (both £39 million) and Prodigy Finance (£12.75 million). The total investment of £362 million in London’s financial technology (FinTech) sector has also already surpassed last year’s total of £318 million.
Eileen Burbidge, a partner at Passion Capital, a VC firm highlights how far London’s tech sector has come along over the past five years, noting how investment has increased “tenfold”! She commented: “Today’s figures and the fact that London is home to more software developers than anywhere else in the world validate the fact that London’s tech sector is maturing and is one of the world’s leading tech hubs.”
However, there are fears that the capital’s tech growth could be stunted by the hard line the Government is taking on immigration and international students. In response, founder of Tech London Advocates and Mayor of London Tech Ambassador, Russ Shaw warns: “If we don’t take foreign students seriously, as part of an overall talent mix, it will impact our ability to attract world class talent and build world-class businesses. It’s a mistake to send them home.
With the digital economy of Britain set to carry on growing, more digitally skilled workers are going to be needed. O2 have estimated that this figure will stand at 2.2 million by the year 2020. O2’s research also estimates that of the 766,000 tech and digital jobs that will arise in Britain over the next five years, 47% of them will be based in London and the south east.
The year 2015 is a record breaker, having already seen £1 billion worth of investment and the most impressive thing is there’s still time left for this figure to grow!