London retains tech start-up crown

LONDON (AFP) – London is Europe’s most attractive city for technology start-ups, despite a sharp slowdown last year, a study showed yesterday.

With Brexit looming, the Mayor’s promotional agency London & Partners said that GBP1.8 billion (USD2.3 billion) was invested in fledgling tech businesses in 2018.

That represented a near 30 per cent slump on 2017 and was the first slowdown in six years, L&P said in a statement.

But London’s 2018 total was still double the level of Berlin, which stood in second place at GBP936.53 million, while Paris was third with GBP797.04 million.

Investment is being propelled by a “significant” increase in funding for emerging sectors such as fintech – or financial technology – as well as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

Britain continues to be a major force in European tech, with a growing stable of so-called “unicorns”, private companies that are worth more than USD1 billion each. Such titans include online banks Monzo and Revolut.

Britain’s entire tech start-up sector raised almost GBP2.5 billion last year, down 20.2 per cent from 2017.

However, the comparison was skewed because 2017 saw vast deals, including food courier Deliveroo, virtual reality specialist Improbable and money transfer firm TransferWise, that did not materialise last year.