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Technology & IT Services

Opportunity Calls Following London Tech Week

The global technology landscape is shifting and Claire Stairmand, Associate in our Technology & IT Services Practice, highlights the opportunities presented by London Tech Week on a global scale.

The Silicon Valley exodus is not a new trend to those of us working in the tech sector; layoffs, remote working and post-pandemic changes have reshaped where employees live and work, and in turn, where technology innovation happens. We have long observed the rise of other tech hubs across the US including Austin, Denver and Miami to name just a few. Whilst Silicon Valley still retains dominance, these shifts are having direct impact on technology growth and innovation not only inside, but outside of the US, and we are seeing a more definitive rise of tech hubs in new regions that are here to stay.

Reflecting on the growth of UK Tech, we firmly believe that the UK and other global tech hubs have a moment in time in which to capitalize on the innovation taking place, and have highlighted just a few of the key ways in which their positions can be progressed in the global technology hub.

Cultivating Collaboration and Networking

Collaborating and networking events much like London Tech Week are critical to enhancing the technology ecosystem, fostering communication, building strong relationships between startups, industry, academia, government bodies, investors, and incubators. These events and networking opportunities are crucial to promoting the culture of a highly ambitious, energized and supportive technology sector, providing platforms which get the right people together in the same room to actively encourage investment. Events such as these also provide a vehicle for driving ahead discussions around policy, and how policy changes can help to open up the technology scene.

Sponsored by Odgers Berndtson, London Tech Week has become something of a cornerstone of the global technology landscape, an annual event which brings together both industry goliaths, and startups alike, all with a shared interest in the evolution of the sector. It is just one example of how collaboration and networking events can yield great impact.

Investment & Funding

Another key priority is realizing the enormous potential which can be unlocked if the UK can continue to drive investment and funding into technology, creating a true ecosystem of innovation and growth of UK tech. Currently, the UK is recognized as the number one tech hub in Europe, and research from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport predicts that

"If the UK’s digital ecosystem is supported, the sector's contribution to annual GVA could grow by an additional £41.5bn by 2025."

A truly exciting time for the industry and attracting both domestic and foreign investment remains high on the agenda. Currently, investment from the USA makes up 37% of overall capital flowing into the UK, thus it is clear that more can be done domestically to unlock more capital from UK institutional investors. Fostering greater collaboration between the public and private sector makes it easier to apply for grants, reducing bureaucracy and creating more favorable conditions for investors and VC firms is another way to propel growth, to create a steadier flow of capital which can, in turn, drive further innovation.

Related to this, further investment into research and development, fuelled by world-class universities and research institutes will be crucial to driving technology advancement, translating academic research and new ideas into practical solutions, which can in turn be monetised to support economies. Linked to this, a well-funded R&D ecosystem can and should act as a magnet for talent, as bright young minds across the world decide where to invest their time and grow their ideas.

Market Reform

Whilst the UK leads a European growth equity scene which matches that of the US, few of Europe’s most successful companies choose to list here. The UK remains a trickier market in which to list; London, despite having the most unicorns in Europe, is not well known for sustaining companies at the latter stage of growth through to IPO. Fortunately, the UK watchdog has proposed new regulation to simplify domestic public listings which should in turn attract further investment and growth. Now has never been a better time for new regulation as the center of gravity starts to shift from Silicon Valley.

Looking to the Future

As we reflect on the value and growth of the London technology ecosystem, what we need is a concerted effort for both the government, and public and private businesses to go further to grasp the opportunity facing the tech sector and to turn the UK into a technology hub with even greater global significance.

Further enabling scale-up businesses to launch and grow by creating a more open environment in which companies can invest and list would transform the tech scene.

The hiring strategies to attract the best tech talent are also hugely important to this aim, as highlighted in our recent article. Secondly, recognising the need for continued investment in our ecosystem and ensuring the right level of investment into research and development, will be essential. There are a myriad of ways in which the UK and other countries can make the most of this moment in time; however, we do know that successful networking and collaboration, and getting the most out of events such as London Tech Week is a great place to start.

For more information on what is happening in your local tech sector, contact our author, get in touch with us here, and you can also find your local Odgers Berndtson contact here.

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