US tech leaders still ❤ London, even after Brexit

Lynsey Barber
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The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is promoting tech in New York (Source: Getty)

Entrepreneurs and tech leaders in the US still have an eye for London as the transatlantic special relationship continues to flourish despite the looming prospect of Brexit.

The capital still tops their list as the top tech hub in Europe and the best place from which to build business across the continent, a new survey of more than 200 top US tech execs reveals, ahead of rival cities across the continent which are racing to succeed London's status as the startup capital of the bloc after the vote to leave it.

London beat growing startup hubs such as Dublin, Berlin and Paris, according to the research by London and Partners, the Mayor's promotional board, as Sadiq Khan crossed the pond to woo US businesses in the face of the referendum result.

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He is joined by more than 20 top tech startups from Britain to promote trade, investment and business ties between the two countries.

Top European cities for tech according to US tech execs

1. London

2. Berlin

=3. Frankfurt

=3. Dublin

5. Stockholm

6. Zurich

7. Amsterdam

8. Lisbon

9. Paris

10. Madrid


“Our great city has long been at the very forefront of financial services. When you combine that with our new-found technological expertise, it creates an unrivalled opportunity for companies looking to break into the European market," said Khan speaking in New York on Monday.

"Despite the country’s decision to leave the European Union, there is no doubt that London will continue to be the booming and successful city it is today, open to talent and creativity from across the world and a leading destination for American business.”

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Funding going to tech startups in the UK remains strong, separate figures show, and has already hit $500m (£383m) since the 23 June vote. Investment in London startups totalled $425m since the same date - more than Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam, said City Hall.

The results of the research are another vote of confidence for the sector which had raised concerns about its future after the referendum and with a shake up in government.

"We believe that for the foreseeable future London will remain the preeminent European base for startups and retain its role as a key launchpad for US companies expanding to Europe," said Jan Hammer of Index Ventures, which is based in London and San Francisco.

"There is no denying that the Brexit vote has created uncertainty about the future relationship with the EU and the impact it will have on hiring and trade, however, all of these changes will take years to negotiate before they come into effect and should not deter companies from expanding into the capital. Our investment strategy hasn’t changed and we are encouraged by the steps the Mayor of London is taking to protect London's leading role in Europe.”

The news comes as New York co-working startup space WeWork revealed plans for expansion in London, its biggest market outside of New York, with two new spaces in Hackney's London Fields and Aldwych House near Covent Garden. It is also planning another 10 locations by the end of next year in the capital where it now boasts 10,000 members.

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Billion dollar software giant Pivotal last week revealed its expansion in London and plans to increase staff to 200 by the end of next year and increase the UK share of business from less than 10 per cent currently to as much as 30 per cent.

Newly installed digital minister Matt Hancock said attracting business and investment into the UK post-Brexit was "mission critical to future sucess" for London's reputation as a global technology hub at the launch.

However, the news comes amid news that tech giant Microsoft plans to close the its Skype offices in London with the loss of more than 200 jobs. The firm said it was due to consolidating its business with a move to Paddington and part of wider job cuts across the business globally.

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