Vorsprung Durch TechHub, says Boris, as he hails the technological innovation found in London
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has outlined his plans to make London the world leader when it comes to technology, not just Tech City, located in the city’s east end.
Speaking at an event in TechHub, on the city’s famous Old Street roundabout, Johnson introduced a new panel of London tech experts to champion the city’s prowess around the globe.
The Mayor’s new London Tech Ambassadors Group is made up of nine of the leading names in the city’s technology industry, including Gerard Grech, the new CEO of Tech City UK, Kathryn Parsons, Co- CEO of digital literacy pioneers Decoded and Derek White, Chief Design Officer at Barclays. It will be chaired by the Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, Kit Malthouse, and be supported by London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional organisation for the city.
“There is nowhere to rival London for tech firms to thrive and grow – we have the talent, the investors, and the entrepreneurial spirit,” Johnson said. “Our tech offer now spans the capital in its entirety, from Tottenham to Croydon and from Wembley to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“I want London’s world-class tech sector to be as well known around the globe as our tourism, arts and financial services – it certainly deserves to be. London is where it all comes together. We need to build on this impressive growth and champion London as the global leader for ambitious tech companies.”
Alluding to the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel at the recent CeBIT conference in Hannover, where David Cameron was also a VIP visitor, Johnson said that the German leader was ‘jealous’ of the UK’s technology industry and the innovation it provides
London currently has more tech companies than any other cities in Europe, and more technology incubators than all of Germany, Johnson said, ending his speech with a triumphant “Vorsprung Durch TechHub!”
The Mayor’s confidence in the London technology sector seems well placed, as a new YouGov survey revealed that 84 percent of tech firms based in London see a bright future for the sector, with 71 percent believing that being based in the capital will help them attract the investment they need.
London now has 32 accelerators and incubators for start-up companies, out of 50 in the UK. Between 2010 and 2013, more than 340 London-based tech companies have attracted investment of over £1.47bn and, since the start of this year alone, two London companies, DeepMind and Natural Motion, have been sold for over £1bn each.
The Mayor was supported by several other major UK technology figures at the event, including Michael Acton Smith, CEO of Mind Candy, who hailed London as ‘a vibrant and very varied city with a deep tech talent pool, great government support and the occasional days of glorious sunshine.’ This was backed up by Sir Will Sargent, CEO of Oscar-winning SFX studio Framestore, who said, “London is now at the heart of Europe’s digital imaging world. The creative and artistic talent in this city present a world-class resource across any industry seeking to create engaging and entertaining imagery.”
Facebook EMEA vice president Nicola Mendelsohn, a Mancunian by origin, also professed her love for the city, support backed up by her company, which will soon be moving to new headquarters in Regents Place near Kings Cross station. “London is a rich source of engineering and technology talent,” she said. “We opened our office here because the best people are already here and we keep playing an active role in this ecosystem which is second to none.”
According to London & Partners, London’s Tech City space now covers over a million square feet of space, and reaches as far as Paddington in the West and the Olympic Park in the East. In order to show off the wealth of talent in the city, London will be hosting a ‘Technology Week’ event from 16 to 20 June, where attendees from across the world will be invited to view and experience the companies and innovation present in the capital.
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