VC investment in London 'driven by AI, robotics and big data'

London is targeting fintech as it tries to attract business

The new figures follow a week of fintech events created to shore up investor confidence in the sector post-Brexit vote at which chancellor Philip Hammond praised the UK's world-leading sector, but warned that it must continue to attract "the best and the brightest". But it's sectors such as robots and drones, big data and artificial intelligence which have been the fastest growing.

The findings show that more than £14m was invested previous year, compared with significantly smaller amounts raised in 2014 (£40,000) and 2015 (£70,000). "By connecting ambitious individuals in finance with ambitious entrepreneurs, London will send a clear message to the global finance community - this is the home of innovation and billion-dollar opportunities".

Since the Brexit vote, United Kingdom companies and leading public figures have been vocal in assuring investors that London remains open for business. Many in the tech and finance industries forewarned an exodus of talent and money from the capital due to the United Kingdom leaving the EU.

London Tech Week was introduced in 2014.

Other popular sectors include mobile and software-as-a-service, according to the data compiled by the founders of London Tech Week from VC-tracking website Pitchbook.

London-based FinTech firms raised more than £2bn in VC funding over the past five years, which the research says is more than that of any other vertical including SaaS, mobile and e-commerce.

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AI and machine learning attracted £86m in funding last year, rocketing from just £3m five years ago. The numbers were driven by major deals for Funding Circle (£82 million), Monzo (£22 million) and Currency Cloud (£20.27 million).

Further silencing the Brexit fear-mongers is the performance of the capital in Q1. In the first quarter of the year London tech firms received £395 million in venture capital investment - significantly more than the £245 million raised in Q4 of 2016.

London Tech Week said the first-quarter numbers help to prove that the United Kingdom capital remains a leading fintech hub in the wake of the country's vote to leave the European Union.

"London is the technology capital of Europe".

The survey of Level39's 900-strong community found that most think a shortage of talent is the biggest threat to banks and financial institutions in the United Kingdom (19%), followed by a lack of investment in research and development (17%) and digital disruption (15%). Deputy mayor for business Rajesh Agrawal welcomed it as "proof that London remains open to investment, talent and innovation from all over the world".

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