Funding into cryptocurrency and blockchain startups in the UK reached a new record last year.
According to data published by Pitchbook and London & Partners, companies in the space raised more than ￡200m from venture capital investors.
Big rounds included the ￡61M raised by blockchain software firm Bitfury and a Series A closed by London-based TradeIX.
In stark contrast, startups in the sector only received ￡19.11M in 2017 and ￡51.96M in 2016.
Overall, London’s technology companies represented a significant boost to UK investment in 2018, with the capital’s businesses accounting for 72 per cent (￡1.8BN) of the total ￡2.49BN raised by Britain’s tech firms.
Additionally, the data shows that technology businesses based in London are still enjoying access to almost double the amount of growth capital available to their counterparts in other European cities such as Berlin (￡936.53M), Paris (￡797.04M) and Stockholm (￡224.23M).
London’s Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, commented on the findings: “These figures demonstrate that London is going from strength to strength as a global hub for technology, innovation and creativity. The fantastic success of our tech sector is rooted in our city’s openness and our diverse, international talent pool. Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, London will remain open to innovation, talent and investment from all over the world.”
Funding into UK AI companies peaked at ￡736M in 2018, representing a 47 per cent increase on the ￡499M raised in the year before. The figures were boosted by a series of large deals, including a ￡58.86M Series B closed by Culture Trip, which leverages AI to create bespoke content for its users, and AI chipmaker Graphcore’s staggering ￡153M Series D.
Unsurprisingly, the data also shows that the UK FinTech sector continues to be a major draw for venture capital investors, with London-based companies raising over ￡1.08BN (over 90 per cent) of the total ￡1.17BN received by UK FinTech firms last year. Big FinTech rounds included Revolut’s ￡177M and Monzo’s recent ￡84M Series E.
Well-known investor Eileen Burbidge, a Partner at Passion Capital, added: “London is a hotspot for innovation and recognised as a leading centre in Europe for cutting edge technology development. London and the UK are creating world-class companies of scale, especially in high growth areas such as Fintech and Artificial Intelligence. This presents enormous opportunity for international investors, and today’s data suggests that London’s tech sector has a very bright future.”
Elsewhere, strong growth in funding for Berlin’s tech companies in last year helped Germany to cement its status as the second largest European hub for VC investment behind London and the UK. But, Paris and France are gaining momentum with French tech firms raising over ￡1BN in 2018, compared with the ￡748M raised in 2017.