Following the recent launch of Tech Nation, we are running a series of profile pieces on each of the digital clusters featured in the report.
The home of Tech City, Silicon Roundabout and thousands of flourishing tech companies, London is the digital heartbeat of Europe. There was over $1.4billion in venture capital investment into London tech over the course of 2014, double the figure for 2013. Since the Tech City initiative was launched in 2010, digital giants have come to the capital in the form of Amazon and Google. In addition to this, giants have been born in the shape of Shazam, Transferwise and Farfetch – all recently valued at $1billion.
Across the 12 boroughs included in the Inner London cluster there are 251,590 people in digital employment and according to Oxford Economics, over the next ten years there are expected to be 46,000 more digital jobs in London. London also boasts a huge range of digital companies with leaders in FinTech and Big Data as well as a range of fantastic Internet of Things startups. This range is getting ever broader with a 92% growth in new digital companies incorporated between 2010-13.
Originally based around East London’s Old Street roundabout, London’s tech scene has blown up and there are now hubs spread right across the city including Canary Wharf, the Knowledge Quarter (King’s Cross), White City (Imperial West), the Olympic Park, Somerset House, Kentish Town, Tech City Croydon, Soho, Chiswick Park ‘Media Village’, among others.
Within the ecosystems which have been formed, a wide range of support is now available from more than 36 business accelerators such as MassChallengeUK, Seedcamp, Wayra, Microsoft Ventures, Techstars and our own programme Future Fifty. As well as all of the support systems available to tech companies in the capital, there is over 70 co-working spaces which allow small tech startup companies to rent appropriate spaces at affordable prices, such as the space we work out of: Runway East (pictured below).
Another example of co-working in the London tech community is Central Working, who have four spaces across London. CEO James Layfield believes collaborative office space has been vital to the growth of London tech: “The property market for businesses assumes that you know how big you’re going to be next year – that’s not realistic for fast growing companies, and it’s why co-working spaces are so important.”
The rapid evolution of the Inner London tech scene is reflected in today’s figures, published by London & Partners. $682 million has been invested into digital companies in the capital in the last three months alone, indicating yet another record year. Tech City UK CEO Gerard Grech commented: “2015 looks set for the record books as the UK solidifies it’s rightful position as a global tech leader. It’s been a great year for London tech companies with the likes of WorldRemit, JustPark, TransferWise and Shazam smashing through their funding targets. The increase in venture capital investment into London in the first quarter of 2015 comes as no surprise. With 44,000 working in the fintech space alone, record levels of investment in 2014 and more than a quarter of million people employed in digital businesses across inner London, the capital is the engine of Tech Nation.”
Three local companies were featured in the report: