Technology is the fastest growing sector in London, now employing more than 200,000 people, according to research published today as London Technology Week gets underway.
The figures, produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for London, suggest that London is Europe’s leading technology hub, beating the likes of Berlin, Stockholm and Paris.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “With our unrivalled mix of investors, talent and creativity it is hardly surprising that tech businesses and entrepreneurs are clamouring to be part of the incredible London tech story. This sector has flourished beyond recognition in the last five years, creating thousands of jobs and outpacing the rest of the economy."
The research also indicates that the London technology sector is on target to contribute £18 billion to the UK economy in 2015.
While there's no denying London's technology ecosystem is booming, the capital still faces a number of challenges. Startups repeatedly complain about a lack of access to talent, poor broadband speeds and difficulties raising money at certain stages in their life.
"Now we need to continue our work to boost connectivity across the capital and arm the tech stars of the future with the skills they will need to drive forward this valuable industry for years to come," added Johnson.
Auditing giant EY published its own research today showing that over 1,000 international tech investment projects have taken place in London since 2005, significantly more than the next most attractive city, Paris (381) or the whole of France (853).
Mark Gregory, UK chief economist at EY, said: "In the eyes of international investors, London is a truly world-class magnet for technology investment. Fostering innovation and the capital's growing reputation for R&D investment appears to reflect the electrifying impact of the fast-growing tech sector. There is now a growing belief that next global tech giant will come from London.”
London has also spawned a number of billion dollar companies (known as unicorns) in the last year, including the likes of Shazam and Transferwise.
Manish Madhvani, cofounder and managing partner of GP Bullhound, said: “The UK has raced ahead as the undisputed home of unicorns in Europe, with London producing the vast majority of Britain’s billion dollar tech companies. Growth is accelerating because we have created an environment capable of sustaining high levels of investment across a range of tech sectors.”
A raft of other announcements were made to support the start of London Technology Week, including: the launch of Tech.London, an online hub sponsored by IBM and built by Gust for the capital’s digital industry; a Google accelerator programme for entrepreneurs over the age of 50; and the relocation of Amazon’s corporate HQ to London, where it now employs more than 2,000 people.
London Technology Week will see over 200 events run from 15-21 June. Participating companies include Bloomberg, Accenture, Stack Exchange and Goldman Sachs, as well as home-grown London-based tech companies such as Funding Circle and Blippar.