UK tech investors are incredibly happy about Softbank's $100bn fund

Lynsey Barber
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Venture capitalists in the UK welcome the new $100bn fund) (Source: Getty)

Venture capital investors in London have welcomed the arrival of the world’s biggest ever tech investment fund and the decision to locate it in the capital.

Softbank unveiled plans last week to create a huge new fund for investing in technology companies along with the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund to the tune of as much as $100bn (£820bn) over the next five years.

Locating the fund in London has been hailed as a vote of confidence in the UK technology sector post-Brexit.

Read more: What Brexit? UK startup funding has bucked a global slowdown

“This is a very interesting and strong vote of confidence in the tech sector here,” said Tech London Advocates’ Russ Shaw, speaking to the BBC.

“It demonstrates that regardless of whether we’re here in the EU or not , it’s showing some really strong fundamental signs - it’s vibrant, it's dynamic and it’s here to stay."

The fund, almost unprecedented in its size, is expected to help plug a late stage funding gap for startups across Europe to the benefit of both startups and the UK’s VCs.

"The injection of capital into the market will help Europe's ambitious entrepreneurs to fulfil their ambitions on home turf, rather than being constrained by a lack of later-stage capital,” said Suranga Chandratillake, general partner of Balderton Capital.

Read more: The UK needs tech talent quickly and it doesn't matter where it comes from

Hoxton Ventures’ Rob Kniaz said: “It's not worth their time to do a paltry cheque under $10m or $20m to be frank. So we're delighted they can follow in later rounds of our companies.”

Softbank snapped up UK chip maker Arm for £24.3bn over the summer in an unexpected mega-deal and is already an investor in two of Hoxton’s companies, Yieldify and Darktrace, which is now valued at $500m.

That sentiment was also echoed by Luciana Lixandru, principal at Accel. “Given the size of the fund and its remit, it’s likely going to be more about late stage global growth investments and less about early stage venture. As a result, it’s great news for European VCs in terms of providing another route to exit and liquidity,” she said.

Renowned investor with LocalGlobal Robin Klein, who backed Zoopla and LoveFIlm, added: “I think all round, the fact that a global fund of this size will be based in London is huge for London and Europe. It is a very good endorsement for the importance of tech in the global economy.”

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