London technology scene still needs more risk capital, says deputy mayor Kit Malthouse

Despite the rapid growth of London's start-up technology scene, the deputy mayor of London still believes that more venture capital support is needed for the city to truly realise its potential.

Venture capital firms are required in a greater number to ensure that companies are not found wanting when it comes to investment, says Kit Malthouse.

Speaking at the introduction of London Technology Week, which is due to run from 16 to 20 June 2014, the deputy mayor outlined to GrowthBusiness what he thinks are the key things London needs to do so that it can become a world-leading technology hub.

‘At the moment great ideas are competing for risk capital, and we need to reverse that so risk capital is competing for great ideas,’ he said.

Malthouse also added that vested parties need to ensure that we ‘spread the tentacles of talent’ across the city so that young people in other areas (away from the tech hubs) recognise that the industry is a level playing field.

The deputy mayor for London is involved with London Technology Week through his role as chairman of London & Partners, the mayor’s official promotional organisation for London.

Together with other supporters including UBM Live and Tech London Advocates, London Technology Week will attempt to showcase London’s ‘world-leading tech sector’.

The week will see in excess of 130 events taking place throughout the city involving 30,000 tech entrepreneurs, investors and developers. Large technology companies such as US-based Google, Eventbrite and Microsoft will be joined by UK growth companies including Hailo and Mind Candy.

More on the technology scene in London:

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, told GrowthBusiness that London Technology Week would not have been possible three years ago.

‘We are now at a point where we can [hold it] as we have a critical mass of start-ups, of scale-ups, of successful commercial exits,’ he said to us.

Shaw believes that events such as London Technology Week serve as great awareness exercises, so that others around the world understand how ‘vibrant’ the London technology scene is.

Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw

Russ Shaw has held roles at Skype and Telefonfica

Quizzed on how the event, and the greater London technology scene as a whole, can marry the interests of large-scale corporates and growth-stage start-ups, Shaw said it can be a win-win situation for both sides.

‘Start-ups need the bigger corporates as they have funding, infrastructure and often a ready-made list of customers at their disposal,’ he added.

‘For the bigger companies, many of them struggle in terms of creativity, innovation, and for them to get closer to the start-up community ignites a few sparks.’

Shaw cited his time at Telefonica as global innovation director as evidence-in-point. It was there that he oversaw investment in start-ups so that Telefonica could access ideas, innovation and technology.

‘When companies grow in size and scale they become big and beaurocratic, and sometimes loose sight of that nimbleness or that great idea that small start-ups can bring,’ he said.

London Technology Week will include workshops, investor meetings, hackathons and product showcases – held at locations around the city.

Commenting on the week, mayor Boris Johnson says, ‘London’s first ever Technology Week will showcase London’s role as the digital capital of Europe, with a range of innovative businesses now calling the city their home, attracting both significant investment and some of the best and brightest talent on the planet.

‘Throughout the week tens of thousands of the industry’s top tech professionals will flock here to share brilliant new ideas, build business relationships and help cement London’s position as a top global tech hub.’

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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Venture capital funding