2018 witnessed a record level of investment into blockchain and cryptocurrency sector with the UK emerging as the preferred destination for the investors in Europe. A report released by London & Partners revealed that in 2018 the total venture capital invested into blockchain and cryptocurrency space was pegged at €200m which is ten times more than the €19m investment sector witnessed in 2017. A closer look at the data further reveals that organizations involved in artificial intelligence (AI) businesses attracted €736m which is significantly more than the €499m it received in 2017. The largest share of the investment went to Financial Technology (FinTech) firms with sector attracting a total investment of €1.17bn. Interestingly, 90% of this €1.17bn investment went to the London-based organizations.
The UK emerged as a preferred destination
London emerged as the most attractive destination for investors to invest in technology firms and received €1.8bn in 2018 which is almost twice the €936.5m attracted by its closest rival Berlin. Commenting on the investment figures, Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, said that London is becoming a preferred destination for companies having the potential to change the world in the fields like artificial intelligence, big data, and financial technology services. The top executive further added that the investment figures testify the game-changing potential of London and its attractiveness among the ambitious, international players.
In terms of the total investment, British technology firms attracted €2.49bn in 2018 while Germany got €1.38bn, France got €1.03bn, Switzerland got €531.8m, and Spain got €275m. The high number of technology exits last year also complemented the strength of UK and London with British companies getting more number of initial public offerings (IPOs) than any other country in Europe. In 2018, a total of 17 IPOs were for British companies which raised a total of 1.3bn in the capital. In comparison, France got eight offerings, Germany got six, Italy got three, and Netherland got two.
Adding to the success story, many financial technology firms based in London acquired the status of a unicorn in 2018 including the startup Revolut in the field of digital banking category. The startup was able to achieve unicorn status after receiving an investment of €177m. The CEO of the firm, Nikolay Storonsky, said that London has emerged as a preferred destination as the capital provides access to best of the technology, talent, investment, and expertise required to grow the business. Storonsky also said that being of a global hub for the financial technology firms; London is a great place to help them expand their business globally.