Figures compiled by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company, show a record amount of venture capital investment is being made into London-based FinTech firms. So far this year companies have attracted more than US$539 million – triple the amount raised in 2013 – and an amount representing more than half of all FinTech investment across Europe ¹.
Further research commissioned by London & Partners shows that more than half (56 per cent) of senior executives and above surveyed in Britain’s financial Services believe London is best placed globally to lead FinTech innovation, ahead of New York (3 per cent), Hong Kong (4 per cent) and San Francisco (8 per cent), with London’s position as a global trading hub cited as the key reason by those who thought the capital is best placed (85 per cent), followed by the close proximity of financial and technology businesses in London (62 per cent) ².
The YouGov poll also found that 81 per cent of those surveyed thought that FinTech was already having an impact on the traditional financial services sector. More than half (52 per cent) said high street, retail banks need to embrace new technology while 48 per cent said that banks were failing to adapt quickly enough to the challenges presented by advances in financial technology.
The Mayor is on a six day trade mission to the Far East where he is aiming to build on his work to create jobs and growth, and promote London to the world as a major investment destination as he leads a trade mission to Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Over six days he will meet senior politicians, business leaders and investors in some of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies, to champion investment opportunities in London and the UK by forging closer ties with the three cities. He has been accompanied by a delegation of the capital’s top business leaders from key sectors including financial and investment services, and construction and design. They are being supported in the region by a parallel UKTI mission made up of London’s emerging small technology and science related businesses.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London has always been at the forefront of financial innovation and now our financiers are leading another global revolution, this time driven by technological innovations that are changing the way the world does business, creating new jobs and economic growth both in the UK, and in the other financial centres of the world.”
Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), who co-hosted the event said: “Singapore and London are natural partners. Just as we see London as a gateway into Europe, we want London to see Singapore as the best gateway to Asia. The Prime Minister of Singapore has laid out a vision for us to become a Smart Nation. This means Singapore is pulling together our world-ranked universities, multibillion annual R&D investments, a fast-growing community of tech startups and large pools of investment capital to tackle important global challenges brought on by the inevitable trends of ageing populations and urban density. The financial-services sector also represents an interesting space with huge opportunities for disruptive innovation.”
At the event Steve Leonard announced that Startupbootcamp, the London-based FinTech accelerator will launch an Asia accelerator programme in Singapore next year. To showcase Singapore’s commitment to tech entrepreneurship, Mr Leonard also announced that IDA would be partnering with London-based Founders Forum to bring its exclusive “Leaders-in-Tech” gathering to Singapore next April.
Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Founders Forum, entrepreneur and investor said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside IDA to co-host the inaugural Founders Forum Smart Nation Singapore next April. We look forward to bringing some of the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs to Singapore and hope that through this, we can help IDA on its mission for Singapore to become the world’s first Smart Nation. We want to strengthen the ties between London and Singapore so aim to promote Singapore as the pivotal hub for top London entrepreneurs who are looking to expand into Asia.”
The Mayor of London also used the event to demonstrate some exciting new technology developed by the London-based startup Vieweet, which is working with TescoLabs, the innovation arm of the UK supermarket chain, to explore the future of online retailing ³. The company is developing a platform that allows people to navigate around a ‘virtual’ supermarket.
Domenic Versace, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Vieweet said: “Online shopping is largely about picking things off a list. It doesn’t really engage the consumer in the same way as actually being in a shop. What we’re trying to do is bridge that gap. Our technology was originally conceived as a tool for the real estate industry but we’re demonstrating, with TescoLabs, that it has potential to revolutionise ecommerce too.”
Singapore, which is the leading financial hub of Southeast Asia, is well placed to benefit from advances in FinTech. The country boasts over 200 banks with operational headquarters and Singapore-based tech startups attracted more than US$1.7 billion VC funding in 2013 – more than Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea 4.
The UK FinTech market is currently worth £20 billion in annual revenue and growing according to EY 5 and London is now the world’s largest centre for financial technology, with 44,000 people working in the sector – more than both Silicon Valley and New York, according to research by South Mountain Economics 6.
Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for London, said: “London’s FinTech sector is growing faster than anywhere else in the world. The proximity of our world-class financial services infrastructure to London’s booming tech industry is driving innovation across mobile payments, retail banking and crowdfunding, resulting in dynamic products and apps for a plugged-in, online generation.”
Claire Cockerton, CEO Innovate Finance – the UK trade-body representing the FinTech sector – and technology ambassador for the Mayor of London said: “The increased investment in Britain’s FinTech community is fostering innovations that are shaping the future of the global financial services industry. The best talent in the world is being drawn to this rich landscape and setting up FinTech startups that are investment-ready and have high growth potential.”
Alastair Hughes, CEO, Asia Pacific for JLL, the professional services and investment management company specializing in real estate, a key sponsor of the event, said: “As FinTech is leading to disruption across all sectors, we thought this summit was a great opportunity to showcase how innovation in London and Singapore is having a profound impact on other sectors including real estate, creating new opportunities for forward-thinking firms to capitalise on.”
Other UK FinTech companies accompanying the Mayor in Singapore include: TransferGo, Algomi, Azimo, JustYoYo, Tryum, Real Asset and Iwoca.