Investors look to post-Brexit future

Investment in London technology post-Brexit came into super-sharp focus last week, as Tech London Advocates gathered in east London for the biggest event in the influential lobbying group’s four-year history.

TLA showcaseTLA’s investor showcase, happening at HereEast on the London Olympic Park, brought together 800 leading venture capitalists, angels, founders and digital experts to discuss what TLA calls “the shifting tectonic plates” of London and UK tech – and to assess whether London can hold on to its role as Europe’s most important tech hub.

The TLA event saw the launch of a major new report, London’s Tech Investment Showcase, featuring contributions from 22 VCs, entrepreneurs and more.

Following a survey in March that found one in 10 TLA members facing funding problems, the new report reveals similar business anxiety.

The new report says that market uncertainty (27 %) has overtaken shortage of talent (19%) as the single biggest challenge facing tech companies in London for the first time since 2013.

Three in 10 tech professionals in London believe the city won’t be the capital of Europe for tech investment over the next five years.

And over a third believe that it’s harder to raise growth capital in London now than it was 12 months ago. 61% believe Brexit is going to make this even harder for fast-growth tech firms.

Russ Shaw, the founder of TLA and Global Tech Advocates (pictured), said: “Everything that has made London a global capital for tech excellence is still here, but market uncertainty can cripple confidence and restrict the flow of capital into the city’s fastest growing firms. It is incumbent on the entire tech ecosystem to showcase the strength of our tech companies to attract investment.

He said the showcase event was designed “to celebrate opportunity in the face of adversity”.

Shaw told the London Evening Standard last week that the election in France of Emmanuel Macron could lure fintech businesses in particular across the channel.

“Fintech businesses know that if we lose passporting rights,” Shaw said, “they will have to set up offices in other EU markets and I think Paris, rightly so, will want to make a strong play to win some of those businesses over.”

Asked which tech verticals were set to attract the highest levels of investment in the next 12 months, 35% of TLA members identified artificial intelligence with the highest potential for growth. Fintech was next with 19%.

Tech London Advocates is a private sector-led coalition of more than 4,600 from the tech community who champion London’s potential as a world-class hub for tech and digital businesses.

tla showcaseSessions at HereEast included:

The future of London tech investment, with LocalGlobe founder Saul Klein, Jenny Tooth from the UK Business Angels Association and Ben Luckett from Aviva Ventures.

Looking out: international capital, with Leif Lindback from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, Aekta Patel from the Department for International Trade, Priya Guha from San Francisco-founded Rocketspace and Debu Purkayastha from Octopus Investments.

Looking in: growth capital, with Anne Glover from Amadeus Capital, Simon Calver of BGF Ventures, Anna Boffetta of Balderton Capital and Ben Blume from Atomico.

The pipeline: early stage, with Gonçalo de Vasconcelos of SyndicateRoom, Paris Petgrave of Rare Seed Capital and Rioch Edwards-Brown from So You Wanna Be In Tech?

The pipeline: later stage, with Rasha Khawaja of Toucan Ventures, Karen McCormick of Beringea, James Clark from the London Stock Exchange and Gavin Poole of Here East.

Can London fight back? Debating the point with Jeff Lynn of Seedrs, Tom Adeyoola from Metail, Jacqueline de Rojas of techUK, Ben Brabyn of Level39, Daniel Korski of and Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, Funding London

The TLA showcase also featured a marketplace of 50 London tech startups.