UK says it’s on the path to creating giants to rival Google and Facebook

The Old Street roundabout, which has been dubbed 'Silicon Roundabout' due to the number of technology companies operating from the area in London.

Oli Scarff | Getty Images

The Old Street roundabout, which has been dubbed ‘Silicon Roundabout’ due to the number of technology companies operating from the area in London.

London remains Europe’s top hub for tech investment despite Brexit uncertainty, and in 2017 U.K. tech firms took in almost four times more funding than Germany, and more than Sweden, France and Italy combined, according to London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency. Some 2.1 million people are now employed in the country’s digital tech economy.

Hancock highlighted the creation and growth of companies such as chipmaker ARM and logistics company Ocado that was allowing the U.K. to attract tech talent.

“A couple of years ago ARM sold for £24 billion. That was injection of £24 billion into the ecosystem. Ocado is a 10 billion company — it is the biggest competitor in the world to Amazon in that particular space,” the minister claimed.

Hancock added that the U.K. now has far more unicorns (privately held start-up companies valued at over $1 billion) than any other country in Europe.

“I think it is down to the depth of the ecosystem and the fact that we have many different industries here in the U.K. For example, fintech (financial technology) has done well, because we have both the international financial center of the world and a great tech scene literally side-by-side,” the minister said.

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