Boris Johnson visits US as American investors fund record number of UK tech ventures
4 min read
11 February 2015
Mayor of London Boris Johnson is hoping to see more collaboration between the US and the UK, as new figures have revealed that American investors are funding more of London and UK technology businesses than ever before.
Johnson is currently Stateside “strengthening economic and cultural ties between London and the US,” which comes alongside news that tech firms in the UK’s capital secured $795.2m from American investors in 2014 – smashing the previous £296m from 2012.
On the whole, companies in London secured $1.4bn in venture capital funding last year, so the US was responsible for more than half of the city’s tech funds. When observing investments into the UK overall, another record was smashed as $1.35bn was invested compared to $582m in 2012.
Johnson is promoting the figures in New York with his London & Partners promotional company, Tech City UK and Technology is GREAT, while Joanna Shields, digital economy adviser to the prime minister, and Arianna Huffington, president of the Huffington Post Media Group, are there too.
The London mayor, 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.”
In addition to Johnson visiting the states, 22 of London’s top fintech firms are also in NYC as part of the mayor’s export programme and will pitch to investors at the event to try and secure new deals and partnerships.
Read more on tech investments in the UK:
- Richard Branson and Peter Thiel-backed TransferWise banks $58m and adds Ben Horowitz to board
- Sound recognition app Shazam achieves $1bn valuation with $30m investment
- Virgin “to transform internet connectivity” for 8,000 SMEs in London’s Tech City
In addition to the figures, it’s been revealed that London firm TransferWise is opening New York and Tampa, Florida offices, employing around 50 people in marketing and product and customer support and operations respectively.
Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise, said: “London has been a great place to start and grow our business. Its status as both a tech and financial hub means we’ve been able to grow the company from just my co-founder and I to a company of 250 employees, processing over £3bn worth of customers’ money in four years. We’re excited to be opening offices in the US this month.”
Additionally, London-based cyber security firm Digital Shadows has secured $8m of VC funding from West Coast firm Storm Ventures, which will be used to grow the London team and expand sales and marketing operations in New York and San Francisco.
Alastair Paterson, CEO of Digital Shadows, said: “The potential of Digital Shadows has been recognised by investors both in the UK and US. We have been able to grow from a London-based startup into a company that is now taking on global challenges in cybersecurity. London clearly has the infrastructure in place to allow other companies to follow in our footsteps and expand into global markets.”
Other announcements include London marketing engagement firm EngageSciences revealing new clients including Scripps Networks Interactive and the opening of a Silicon Beach office which joins an existing NYC site. Meanwhile, tech community Chinwag has launched a Pitch NYC event to let UK startups approach US investors, and London-based SAM Labs has demonstrated its Internet of Technology (IoT) products to secure US interest.
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