Global tech investors look to London for international growth


Global tech investors look to London for international growth: 2019 03 18 Inition 209 (1)

10 June 2019

  • New figures show London is the top tech hub for overseas expansion
  • 2019 on course to be a record year for VC investment into London tech
  • London to welcome over 55,000 global delegates for London Tech Week 2019 

London is the top destination for international tech companies looking to expand or setup an operation outside of their own country, according to data published today, the first day of London Tech Week 2019, by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s inward investment agency.

According to the latest figures available, London is a leading global hub for technology and innovation, attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI) projects from overseas tech companies than any other city in the last 12 months. In the past year alone, 91 international tech firms chose to expand or setup an operation in the UK capital with total investments worth £864m – more than the number of new tech investment projects in the likes of Singapore (79), Paris (46) and New York (32)1.

Since the creation of the ‘Tech City’ project in 2008, London has cemented its position as a global super hub for international tech talent and investment, with the research revealing that over the past 10 years, London has received 916 tech FDI projects – again more than any other tech city globally. In total, global tech investment projects in the last ten years were worth over £9.5bn to the city’s economy, creating over 27,600 jobs. 1

London’s attractiveness as a top destination to grow and scale an international tech company was further boosted by the news that the city’s tech firms received £2.56bn in venture capital funding in the first half of 2019, representing a record when compared with the first six months of any other year previously2.

The findings from PitchBook also demonstrate London’s strength as Europe’s largest tech hub, with the research showing that the UK capital continues to top the chart for VC investment into Europe. So far in 2019, London’s tech sector has seen significantly more tech investment than the likes of Paris (£990m), Berlin (£1.09bn) and Stockholm (£140m).

Some of the largest investment deals in the first half of this year include the £441m Series G funding round for London-based ecommerce food delivery giant, Deliveroo, and the £176m investment into online payments firm,, making it the largest European Series A funding round ever.

Global investors have shown a strong appetite for London’s fintech companies in 2019, with major funding rounds for some of the city’s hottest financial technology start-ups including: GoCardless (£57.91m), Starling Bank (£75m) and Onfido (50m). Meanwhile, London headquartered international money transfer firm, TransferWise, became Europe’s most valuable fintech company following a £223m investment last month.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “London is Europe’s leading tech hub and is helping to create even more jobs and investment for the capital and the wider UK economy. As our city’s tech ecosystem continues to grow it’s important that we encourage greater inclusivity and diversity across the tech sector and ensure that London stays open to investment and talent from around the world.

“London Tech Week is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our city’s strengths to a global audience and I look forward to an exciting week of events.”

Laura Citron CEO of London & Partners, co-founders of London Tech Week said: “Today’s figures offer further proof that London is a fantastic place to grow and scale an international technology business. London not only offers access a high concentration of growth capital, talent, corporate HQs and some of the world’s most early adopting consumers but it is a city that international entrepreneurs can genuinely be part of - we are a global, open community and always will be. I'm excited to welcome delegations from around the world for London Tech Week to experience it for themselves."

Nichole Mustard, co-founder of US fintech company, Credit Karma, which recently announced its international expansion in the U.K. added: “London is the one of the top centres of fintech innovation for a number of reasons. Aside from already having established expertise in finance as the finance hub of Europe, the regulator’s early adoption of EU “open banking” rules has been a boost for the industry and will allow for fintechs to innovate more quickly. By setting up our U.K. headquarters in London, we will be able to access more global customers and clients, as well as some of the best international tech talent.”

Further analysis of London & Partners’ foreign direct investment data shows that London is the top global destination for American tech companies looking to expand outside the United States. In the past ten years, London has seen 516 foreign direct investment projects from the USA, worth £5.39bn and creating over 16,800 jobs3.

A number of the world’s largest technology companies have made long term expansion announcements and investments into London during in recent years including:

  • Apple is set to open a new London campus in 2021 at Battersea Power Station for 1,400 staff
  • Google will open a new HQ in Kings Cross to house up to 4500 staff
  • LinkedIn moved into its new UK HQ in Farringdon in January 2019
  • In April 2019, Spotify announced a new research and innovation hub in London, creating 300 new jobs.
  • In 2018 Facebook announced it will be leasing 3 new offices in the London Kings cross area to double it headcount in the UK capital with space for up to 6,000 staff. The company also announced it has chosen London as its base to develop Whatsapp payments, hiring an additional 100 people in the UK capital
  • In 2018, Microsoft announced a $20m investment to open up its ‘Reactor’ accelerator space in Shoreditch for global start-ups. It will also open its first European flagship retail store in Oxford Circus in July this year
  • In July 2017 Amazon UK announced they would double the capacity of the London Development Centre from 450 to 900 high tech staff and by the end of the year there would 5,000 corporate roles and R&D roles in London across their London offices including their new UK HQ.

London Tech Week, Europe’s largest crowdsourced festival of technology and innovation, will see the city welcome around 55,000 global visitors from over 90 different countries, including 700 trade delegation representatives exploring further investment and expansion opportunities.

This year’s festival will also see over 200 events take place across the city with a number of high profile entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers and tech leaders from across the world including: Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter and Square; Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; Cindy Rose, CEO Microsoft UK; Emily Orton, Co-Founder, Darktrace; Taavet Hinrikus, Founder, TransferWise; Will Shu, Co-founder and CEO of Deliveroo; Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank; Cal Henderson, CTO and Co-Founder of Slack and Jacqueline de Rojas, President of TechUK.

Notes to editors

  1. Data produced by London & Partners from fDi Markets, a service of the Financial Times Ltd 2019, showing tech FDI investment into all global cities from April 2019-March 2019. Downloaded 03/06/2019.
  2. Data from PitchBook, produced for London & Partners, showing tech venture capital investment (£) into major European cities and countries from Jan 2013-May 2019. As of 31/05/19
  3. Data produced by London & Partners from fDi Markets, a service of the Financial Times Ltd 2019, showing tech FDI investment from US across all global cities from April 2019-March 2019. Downloaded 03/06/2019.

Supporting data

Table showing global foreign direct investment (by number of projects) for technology for the last 10 years (April 2019 to March 2019)

City 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 Total
London 43 62 93 111 95 90 115 96 120 91 916
Singapore 54 79 76 75 92 100 74 61 79 79 769
Sydney 22 34 44 67 49 50 45 39 35 26 411
Paris 15 22 36 30 40 47 42 41 91 46 410
Dubai 36 23 39 36 43 34 42 40 49 42 384
Bangalore 27 34 31 29 32 37 44 45 45 43 367
Hong Kong 40 32 35 28 28 26 36 25 28 12 290
Dublin 19 25 28 24 37 26 30 29 36 27 281
Tokyo  20 23 19 24 33 28 32 24 30 31 264
Shanghai 21 42 34 26 32 25 26 19 18 19 262
NYC (NY) 8 18 18 26 43 32 23 22 21 32 243
Munich 9 21 18 15 18 27 37 34 32 24 235
Amsterdam 10 13 16 28 26 20 35 32 25 26 231
Melbourne 13 21 29 23 21 30 22 23 10 26 218
Frankfurt am Mai 14 13 25 12 28 24 19 23 29 31 218
Sao Paulo 13 19 38 26 37 16 19 8 18 11 205
Toronto 9 14 12 20 18 18 20 19 20 33 183
San Francisco 8 9 15 20 45 24 14 21 13 9 178
Beijing 22 33 21 13 18 17 11 13 17 8 173
Berlin 10 7 10 11 17 10 35 23 14 11 148
Cities 21 to 2509 1,123 1,218 1,197 1,134 1,403 1,237 1,195 1,253 1,436 1,322 12,519
Not Specified  428 571 525 419 540 332 392 345 340 371 4,263
Total  1,964 2,333 2,359 2,197 2,695 2,250 2,308 2,235 2,506 2,320 23,167

Source: fDi Markets, a service from The Financial Times Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved. Downloaded by London & Partners 03/06/2019

About London Tech Week 

London Tech Week is Europe’s largest crowdsourced festival of technology and innovation, bringing together over 55,000 of the best creative and tech minds from all over the world. The festival will deliver over 200 of live events across the city, showcasing and celebrating the best of tech whilst providing networking, social, learning and business opportunities across the city. London Tech Week 2019 will be organised by founding partners: Informa Tech, London & Partners and Tech London Advocates.

More information on can be found:

About London & Partners

London & Partners is the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency. Its purpose is to support the Mayor’s priorities by promoting London internationally, as the best city in the world in which to invest, work, study and visit. We do this by devising creative ways to promote London and to amplify the Mayor’s messages, priorities and campaigns to international audiences.  Its mission is to tell London’s story brilliantly to an international audience.

London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners. For more information, visit:

About Informa Tech

Informa Tech is a market leading provider of integrated research, media, training and events to the global Technology community.

We're an international business of more than 600 colleagues, operating in more than 20 markets. Our aim is to inspire the Technology community to design, build and run a better digital world through research, media, training and event brands that inform, educate and connect. Over 7,000 professionals subscribe to our research, with 225,000 delegates attending our events and over 18,000 students participating in our training programmes each year, and nearly 4 million people visiting our digital communities each month. Learn more about Informa Tech

About Tech London Advocates

Tech London Advocates is a network of more than 6,000 tech leaders, entrepreneurs and experts in London, across the UK and in over 50 countries worldwide. Proudly independent, private sector-led and not backed by government, Tech London Advocates fundamentally believes that London is one of the world’s leading tech hubs.


Ben Pattie - Head of PR

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