At a time when political and economic uncertainty are rife, the Platinum Jubilee weekend offered a rare moment for the UK to come together and celebrate notable achievements and success. It offered much needed relief, particularly for businesses who are navigating a whole host of new challenges as the country transitions out of the pandemic and redefines its global position in a post-Brexit world.
The future may seem slightly precarious, yet when it comes to the tech sector, there are good reasons for optimism. For example, recent research released from the Z/Yen Group announced that London reigned as Europe’s top tech hub. Importantly, when compared globally to other major cities, the capital only trialed second behind New York. The research acknowledged London’s infrastructure, deep highly-skilled talent pool and widespread adoption of new technology as its core advantages.
While this is positive news, the UK cannot become complacent. A separate report published by the Centre for Policy Studies in May voiced concerns over whether the UK Government can facilitate an environment that encourages investment and private sector growth. Brexit was identified as a core concern, with the report highlighting that France could outpace the UK and become Europe’s top destination for investors.
With rising inflation and political disunity, there are evident obstacles to navigate. However, we should also recognise positive trends, particularly for sectors such as FinTech which have become bedrocks of the post-Brexit economy. Tech solutions tackling financial crime are gaining traction, with ECOMMPAY’s UK and EMEA division appointing Francisco Mainez as its head of financial crimes and payments digital transformation.
Over the last month, the volume of investment into London-based FinTech firms has remained consistently strong. Modulr, an embedded payments platform, closed an £83 million Series C funding round, reflecting the growing prominence of payment-led FinTech solutions.
As I discussed in a previous post, revenue financing has also continued to feature on the radar of investors. London-based MarketFinance successfully raised £100 million debt financing from Deutsche Bank. The investment will allow SMEs to access between £10,000-£500,000 of growth funding, deployed within 24 hours of an application being received.
However, there is also a need not to let the success of London overshadow the potential for FinTech innovation and growth in urban centres outside of the capital. In Manchester, there are over 160 FinTech businesses, as well as a burgeoning tech ecosystem full of startups and scale-up companies.
And as reported on BusinessCloud, Barclays Eagle Labs has partnered with Plexal, Lancaster University and The University of Manchester, to launch the Digital Security Hub. Headquartered in Manchester, the initiative aims to support 500 startups and create over 1,000 jobs in Greater Manchester.
Looking to Leeds, BusinessCloud has partnered with Active Profile to launch the Leeds City Region Tech Climbers, which recognises the startups leading innovation and growth in technology.
It is these sort of initiatives and company developments that need to be championed. Doing so will ensure the UK, not just London, is recognised as disrupters in FinTech products and solutions, alongside technological innovations more generally.