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London still leads European tech investment by a long way

Britain's AI and fintech sectors said to be the driving forces behind a 2018 investment surge

London skyline at sunset

London is said to be the most attractive destination for European technology investment, securing almost double that of its closest rival Berlin.

According to new data sourced by PitchBook on behalf of the Mayor of London, London's position as one of the world's biggest financial centres, as well as the quality of AI research emerging from UK universities, has helped it outpace every other European country, Reuters reports.

Of the 2.5 billion raised by UK tech businesses in 2018, 72% of that came from venture capital funding, equating to 1.8 billion, according to the data.

"We get a lot of calls and inquiries from investors in the U.S. and Asia looking for fintech opportunities," said Eileen Burbidge, a partner at Passion Capital, speaking to Reuters. "In fintech, AI and a few other sectors such as life sciences and robotics, London genuinely leads the world."

The data provided by PitchBook showed that London failed to meet the record investment it attracted in 2017 but still maintained a significant gap between Berlin and Paris, both of which received greater investment than in previous years.

Berlin received 937 million last year, almost double that of 2017, while Paris got slightly less with 797 million, still a significant increase from 2017 thanks to a successful campaign by President Macron to promote tech in France.

The total venture capital funding in European tech fell slightly to 10.44 billion compared to 10.47 billion in 2017.

Despite this, investment into British AI rose 47% to 736 million, while digital banks such as Monzo and Revolut were major recipients of a share of the 1.2 billion given to Britain's booming fintech sector.

The research going on in the UK's AI is thought to be some of the best in the world and the government is doing its part to help fund it too.

The market is thought to have the potential to generate up to 630 billion for the British economy, according to Accenture.

Major AI companies such as Oracle have made the decision to locate to the UK to capitalise on the wealth of talent that the nation is producing. One concern is that the UK will suffer a 'brain drain' in the coming years as our top talent gets headhunted for more highly paid jobs elsewhere such as the US.

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