London Is The Tech Capital Of Europe - Let's Keep It That Way

City AM
By City AM Last edited 26 months ago
London Is The Tech Capital Of Europe - Let's Keep It That Way
A robot at the Science Museum. Photo: Matt Brown

Just like the silver Terminator chasing Arnold Schwarzenegger, technology couldn't care less about Trump, Brexit or whether Theresa May can maintain a stable government or not.

It just keeps running at us. The quiet hum of internet servers and Amazon's warehouse robots continues.

But luckily for us, London has kept pace with the future, becoming a centre for technology startups in Europe with a hugely diverse ecosystem of founders and investors.

Many of London's tech founders are not from the UK. Taavet Hinrikus came from Estonia to co-found Transferwise; Andrey Andreev left Russia to bring us the dating app Badoo; and Marta Krupinska left Poland to co-found Azimo. All have built huge businesses in London.

But London can't rest on its laurels.

A recent report by leading London venture capital firm Balderton Capital found that UK tech firms could soon face a staffing crisis, as they rely heavily on pan-European recruitment.

It found that the UK alone employs 31% of those who work for European startups, showing the extent to which Britain dominates the European tech scene.

In London, some 40% of companies have at least one founder from overseas, and the capital is the most popular destination for job hunters looking to work abroad.

However, Balderton commented that the weakness of the pound combined with developers' drift towards 'digital nomadism' (working from smaller, more affordable tech hubs) could diminish London's allure.

While the UK remains popular, Germany and France are approaching fast. German MPs sent mobile advertising vans into geek-filled Shoreditch, extolling Berlin as a tech hub, and the new French President Emmanuel Macron is gunning for the tech and scientific minds put off by the negative connotations Brexit is sending, whether we like it or not.

At the same time, the future is arriving much faster than many thought. Around 20 years ago it was predicted that the Chinese game Go would not be won by a machine for at least 100 years. Google-owned Deepmind completed the task just last year.

This article originally appeared in City A.M.

Last Updated 13 June 2017