Bloggers and writers based in the U.S. often like to make a comparison between London with Silicon Valley and often comment that it is better to go to the U.S. if a company wants $30 million in funding, but is that really true? Chances are, if you are a startup in the U.S., getting $30 million for your Series A or B is going to be similar to winning the lottery. With a population of 350 million people with a high concentration of startups, typically the ones surrounding the golden arc of Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Harvard, are often the ones that get funded into the multi-millions.
In fact, when speaking with a Partner at Kleiner Perkins, who shall go unnamed, he/she told me that the typical focus is on Stanford-based start-ups. The UK has its own golden triangle: Oxford, Cambridge and my alma mater, UCL; however, the overwhelming majority of startup founders who are funded in the UK did not attend those universities. I would even make a quick extrapolation that London is the better incubator for startups at the seed funding stage. In addition, London is a great place to live, with a lively arts sector, in addition to the proximity to countries in the E.U. In fact, in a survey of 200K people around the world, London was the most desirable city to live in the world. As Samuel Johnson has said, "Anyone who is tired of London is tired of life." Certainly Silicon Valley has pockets of rare beauty amongst its ubiquitous concrete, flat urban landscape of parking lots and shopping malls, in addition to the unchanging, monotonous sunshine that looms over the smog in all seasons; however, the bustling intersection of arts, technology and science in a smart-city infrastructure is what makes London the rising Tech Capital of the world. As Oscar Wilde said, "Variety is the spice of life."
Last year, in the city of London alone, the total amount of Venture Capital funded for Tech Startups doubled to $1.4 billion from just the previous year. In Q1 of this year, 2015, the UK hit a high and already funded $682 million in venture capital, set out to break last year's record. The climate of London is taking a bold stance: investors are no longer set in a conservative mindset.
Here are some recent funding deals of note that exceed $30 million USD:
Innovations leads £25m Series C funding round in PsiOxus
Everline and Ezbob raise £30m through Oaktree Capital Management
Aspin Group raises £25m through LDC investment
WorldStores raises £25m
Budget gym chain Xercise4less secures £31m in funding round
UK tech venture NewVoiceMedia secures £29 million of new funding
There are many more interesting big deals of note, and too many to list in one entry; but make no mistake that exciting things are happening in London across all sectors.
By Sierra Choi, Director of Marketing