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Tech Weekly: Digital Minister Chris Philp on London’s global tech status

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29.04.2022

In this week’s episode, Charlie Conchie talks to Digital Minister Chris Philp.

They ask whether London is still worthy of its role as a tech hub, technology and its part in addressing the cost-of-living squeeze, and free speech and online security amidst the Online Safety Bill.

Episode transcript (auto-generated)

Host 0:08 Hello and welcome to Tech weekly, a podcast by city I am where we go through some of the most important headlines in the worlds of tech crypto FinTech and beyond. I’m not and our server here is sytems. Charlie crunchy. Lily Russell Jones is away for this week’s episode but not to worry, Charlie will be talking to digital Minister Chris Philp about all things London and tech. They’ll discuss London’s prominent role on the global tech stage what technology can do to help address the current cost of living crunch and whether the online safety bill will impinge on free speech in the UK.

Charlie Conchie 0:41 So we’re almost four months down now of what has been, I think, fair to say a very turbulent year one in which all sectors have been kind of rocked by the war in Ukraine, soaring inflation, and one in which the the halcyon days of 2021 do seem quite a way away. Now, we thought it would be good to stand back and reflect on where the kind of UK tech sector is, amid all this turbulence, and I’m very pleased to say that joining us to do that is digital Minister Chris Philp. So let’s sort of kick off. First of all, with this kind of status of London and the UK more broadly, as a sort of tech and fintech hub, we saw London particularly top all sorts of less for funding last year, but it’s undoubtedly become a bit more of a difficult place to do business in the past few months against that kind of backdrop of soaring inflation, and rumblings of Ukraine and so on. Are we at risk of losing that kind of tech hub at all? Do you feel? Chris Philp MP 1:26 No, I don’t think so. Let’s start off with taking a review of where we got to in 2021. Last year, because the UK generally in London as well had an amazing year. In terms of private capital raising, we saw 29 point 4 billion pounds, raised privately by UK tech companies that was comfortably the largest amount raised by any European country. In fact, it was double the second place country which was Germany, they raised about 15. And it was more than three times the country which came at third language and back and third place was France. So on about 9 billion, so an amazing year for private fundraising. When it came to public fundraising on the IPO market last year, there were I think 37 tech IPOs in London. And again, the London Stock Market was by far the most active and largest market for tech IPOs anywhere in Europe by a factor of two or three times. And if you think about you creating new unicorns, new companies that get to a billion dollar valuation, we’ve now got more unicorns than I think France, Germany, and Israel combined. And last year, we gave birth collectively if you’ve left a unicorn to 29, new unicorns, new $1 billion companies, that’s a new UK unicorn every 30 days. So amazing. 2021. Now you asked Charlie about this current year, and I think across the globe, there have been some headwinds this calendar year, the course by Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, causing a few jitters on the public markets. That’s been a global phenomenon. But actually, the London Stock market has been more resilient than others. I mean, NASDAQ over in New York and the USA is down a fair bit, whereas the footsie has been actually a lot more if you look at it over the year. So far, it’s been a lot more stable. By comparison. You mentioned inflation, again, that is a global phenomena inflation, here in the UK is about the same as the level of inflation in Europe, in major European economies like France and Germany, and it’s actually only a little bit lower than it is in in the US. So this year, I think is globally more difficult than 2021. The UK is still far ahead of its European competitors, but we’re not going to be complacent, we want to go even further and stretch our lead in Europe and make sure we’re also competing with the global leaders, China and the US as well, because being a European leader is not enough, we want to go further. Charlie Conchie 3:59 So we will look at first I suppose the the private side of things then and kind of investment into private companies. I know there’s potentially some important changes coming down that track like the pension charge cap being loosened slightly, and changes to Solvency II, which could free up cash to kind of flow into how much is government sort of pushing the industry to get on board of those, and how I suppose significant might they be to the sector? Chris Philp MP 4:22 We’re pushing very hard. As you mentioned, the two remaining kind of regulatory changes to unlock is the flow of institutional capital into UK Tech. So........

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