Boris helps booming London tech sector as record number of US investors pile in

boris johnson

New figures compiled by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for the capital, show that London-based tech firms attracted $795.2m from US investors in 2014, more than doubling the previous record figure from 2012 of $296m.

Investment from the US into the UK as a whole also set a new record of $1.35 billion, compared to the previous record of $582m received in 2012.

These figures were revealed during a trade mission to the United States aimed at strengthening economic and cultural ties between London and the US as in total, London firms attracted $1.4 billion in venture capital funding in 2014, meaning that US funds were responsible for over half of all new funding received by the city’s tech sector.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “As the digital capital of Europe, London is clearly the place to create fast-growing tech companies, and our flourishing tech sector has caught the eye of US investors. London’s talent is attracting global investment, enabling our innovators to turn their ideas into companies that create jobs and economic growth in London.”

Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners said: “London and New York are world-leading tech hubs where innovative companies are producing technologies that are changing the face of industry. For international companies expanding and investing overseas, London is their first choice. Over the last decade the city has attracted more HQ investments than Paris, Berlin and Dublin combined, with companies investing more than £4 billion and creating more than 20,000 jobs in the city.”

Fred Destin, Partner at the venture capital firm Accel Partners, added: “London is undoubtedly one of the world’s great tech hubs. Since Accel opened in London in 2000, we have seen the local ecosystem flourish and go from strength to strength. Today, we are seeing and investing in world-class British start-ups across a wide range of sectors, from consumer marketplaces and financial services to software-as-a-service (SaaS). London entrepreneurs are building technology leaders of global significance.”

The Mayor is on a six-day visit to the US East Coast aimed at strengthening ties between London and the US. Twenty-two of London’s leading financial technology firms are currently in New York on a trade mission organised as part of the Mayor’s Export Programme. They used today’s event to pitch to the investors in the hope of winning new deals for London.

London-based tech firms TransferWise and Shazam have already attracted major investments in 2015. The music tech company Shazam announced investment of around $30m valuing the company at over $1bn, while the fintech company while TransferWise recently announced $58m of new investment from Silicon Valley investment firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Speaking at the event, Baroness Joanna Shields, Digital Economy Adviser to the British Prime Minister and Chair of Tech City UK, said: “There’s nowhere better in the world than the UK for technology companies to expand internationally. Companies like Box have already benefitted from our substantial capital, cutting-edge infrastructure and world-class workforce. Our digital economy has all the right conditions to help fast-growing technology companies thrive on a global scale. For those that are ready to expand their footprint, now is the time to make the move.”

Barclays also used the event to launch its fintech accelerator program in New York. The Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, will open in July 2015. Derek White, Chief Design and digital Officer at Barclays and London technology ambassador commented: “Our goal in New York is to help innovators develop new disruptive fintech technologies, particularly in investment banking, wealth management and credit cards. We’re thrilled that we are able to extend our program to New York, a hub for global finance, building upon the successes we have already seen in London.”

At the event the Mayor of London demonstrated exciting new technology developed by the London-based start-up SAM Labs. Racing models of London and NYC’s world-famous cabs towards an iconic Tower Bridge finish line, the two will help London-based firm SAM Labs demonstrate the innovative products they are pitching to the US market.

SAM building blocks wirelessly connect to your computer to build Internet of Things devices, allowing people with no understanding of coding to construct moving machines. Using small wireless computer components such as switches, fans and motors, SAM teaches people young and old how build innovative electronic systems using a simple computer programme.