London Tech Week 2019 roundup: UK 5G rollout, Facebook’s third office, £1.2B investment & more



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According to the latest report by Tech Nation and Dealroom, the UK tech stands third in creating more unicorn companies right next to the US and China.

To be more specific, the UK created 13 firms with a valuation of more than $1 billion (£784 million) over the past year, reaching a total of 72. On the other side, London leads digital growth across the continent, with 45 unicorns based in the city, including 18 fintech firms. Apart from London, other cities like Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Edinburgh are home to at least two tech unicorns.

Having said that, these are the important announcements at London tech week 2019 so far.

What is London Tech Week?

For the uninitiated, London Tech Week, the biggest festival of tech bringing together global innovators and tech enthusiasts to help shape tomorrow’s world. Each year, London Tech Week welcomes a range of events of all sizes, from all tech verticals – from hackathons to workshops, to large-scale conferences and forums. This year its taking place from June 10 to 14.

Monzo and Revolut to expand its footprint out of Europe!

With firms like Funding Circle, Revolut, Transferwise, Nutmeg, and Mondo, it’s of no surprise why London is being hailed as the global centre of fintech. In the recent development, two major challenger banks, namely Monzo and Revolut, have announced their global expansion plans during London Tech Week.

Monzo, led by CEO Tom Blomfield is planning to expand its footprint to the US. The Monzo US-specific app will be different than the UK’s on looks and features. Having said that, customers will be able to carry out the same functions as UK’s including set up regular payments, get their salary paid in, and more.

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On the other hand, Revolut is rolling out the beta version of its app in Australia. With this move, the company aims to provide a cheaper alternative to the expensive and costly money transfers.

Exciting times ahead for UK Tech ecosystems

The London Tech Week is officially underway, and the UK tech scene has a lot to celebrate this year. Particularly, Prime Minister Theresa May announced £1.2 billion investment in the UK from global tech companies, as well as more government funding and support.

Prime Minister hosted a roundtable for leading tech companies, including Microsoft UK, Google and Monzo, to discuss various opportunities right from boosting the economy to tackle societal challenges.

The Prime Minister said:

British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than £130bn to our economy every year. Today as we sit on the cusp of the next great industrial revolution, we have the opportunity to work together and ensure that the advances we see to transform our world for the better, and to the benefit of everyone.

Facebook’s 3rd office dedicated to AI!

In a recent development, Facebook will create 500 new technology jobs as it opens the third new office in the capital. Out of 500, 20% of which will focus on artificial intelligence (AI). The social media tech giant has had offices in the UK for 12 years, but its expansion marks a vote of confidence in the UK amid the uncertainty of Brexit.

According to Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), the company will add to its two existing London hubs with a new base on Shaftesbury Avenue. Notably, Facebook will employ some 3,000 people in London by the end of 2019.

5G is coming sooner than you think!

Considered as huge advancement over 4G, 5G is coming to the United Kingdom sooner than you think. In this regard, the UK government has announced it will invest £40m (€45.01m) in trials and testbed projects ahead of widespread UK 5G rollout.

While the previous investment in the 5G testbeds and trials programme was intended for the healthcare, tourism, transport and broadcasting sectors, the latest round of investment is intended for the logistics and manufacturing sectors.

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re making sure Britain has a telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. That’s why we’re excited to develop new trials in areas such as manufacturing and logistics that can really benefit from 5G.”

The government has also said it will launch a consultation on proposals to simplify planning processes in England to support the roll-out of 4G and aid the faster introduction of 5G.

Prioritise AI and Digitalisation!

The world of work is undergoing a radical change. Everything has gone digital, be it business, our lives and other important aspects we deal with. In an attempt to keep up with the trend, leaders of European Parliament want the EU to prioritise few things in next five years including Environmental and climate issues, economics, competition policy and industrial policy; taxation; innovation, digitalisation, artificial intelligence and consumer protection; rule of law and fundamental rights.

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.


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Editorial team

The editorial team of Silicon Canals brings you technology news from the European startup ecosystem. 

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