Battle of the Tech Titans – NYC vs LDN

New York and London are often talked about in the same breath as tech hubs. The metropolises of each city are home to industries and have always been a talent magnet. But which one really is coming out on top? Juliette Morgan and Jamie Katcher from C&W’s Global Tech Team go head-to-head and put the case across for their city.

In the red corner – New York City

Let’s start with this great stat, New York City is home to 29 multi-billion dollar media companies, more than any other city in the nation.

And I’ve got more stats to prove that New York is the winning city when it comes to tech (and media). In fact, the City’s media industry employs more than 300,000 people, nearly 10% of the City’s private workforce, and accounts for $30bn in annual revenue.

Nearly 300,000 New Yorkers work in the innovation economy, with employment growing at 7.6% per year – faster than almost any other sector. Over $3bn of venture capital have flowed into the NYC area over the last four quarters alone, contributing to what’s already a $156bn tech economy.

Of course, the true success of the tech sector extends beyond the numbers and into the manifestation of a vibrant ecosystem. Anyone entering the NYC tech scene is gaining access to financetech, media-tech, fashion-tech, and the high-tech connections to every other industry that New York leads. That’s why New York-based companies like Makers Row, Etsy, Kickstarter, and Foursquare are using tech to democratize the way the world manufactures, designs, raises money, and connects.


New York City

A confluence of forces is behind the rising tide of the city’s tech. A voyage inside the workings of New York City’s start-up scene reveals tech players and funding drawn to the region’s bedrock industries of finance and fashion, and media, marketing and commerce.

New York has also been the beneficiary of city and state policies favoring business incentives to attract tech in the wake of the financial crisis and jobs exodus. Mayor Bill de Blasio has continued in the footsteps of former mayor Michael Bloomberg in making tech central to the scene.

Another factor weighing in New York’s favour: tech job growth here is now exceeding Silicon Valley. Since 2008, technology employment in New York has grown roughly 40%, with financial and legal services coming in below prerecession numbers. While the growth in New York has been slightly faster than Silicon Valley – 8.4% versus 5.2% as of June, the size of Silicon Valley’s workforce still remains significantly larger than New York’s, at 213,000 compared with 90,000.
The biggest single indicator that NYC tech is rocketing, however, is its venture capital deal flow. Venture capital has taken a huge leap in NYC, signaling a wave of new opportunities particular to the Empire State.

Venture capital investments jumped 138% to $1.7bn in the New York Metro region in the third quarter compared with a year ago, according to PwC and the National Venture Capital Association.For the same period, Silicon Valley venture capital grew 20% to $4.4bn.

Therefore, if New York is able to trump Silicon Valley, then I am quietly confident that we rank ahead of London. Although I’m sure Juliette will try her best to argue otherwise…

And in the blue corner – London

What makes a city a leader in any field? Talent. And it’s all here, London & Partners state that London attracts not only the best talent from all over Europe but across the globe. In addition to world-class universities, it is a beacon for world-class IT related research.

According to a Bloomberg report, London leads the world in FinTech, with 44,000 people working in the sector, more than Silicon Valley and New York combined. Investment in FinTech is growing faster than anywhere else in the world and accounts for more than half of all investment in the sector.

And it’s not just FinTech that London excels at. The city leads the world in big data. In industries like banking and advertising there are 54,000 big data workers and it’s catching up with established hubs like NY and SFO. London is also leading the world in Open Data infrastructure, through the establishment of the Open Data Institute.

According to Nesta, London is No. 1 in Europe for video games and a global trailblazer in visual effects. In fact, 55% of the games industry is concentrated in London and the South of England in a market worth an estimated $3.4bn.
London is home to four of the best VFX companies in the world, comprising Double Negative, Framestore, Moving Picture Company and Cinesite. It is also home to Sega, Sony Computer Entertainment and Capcom.


Old Street Roundabout in the heart of London’s Tech City

If you want the very best thing in digital disruption then London is the place to visit. It is home to some of the world’s most innovative and creative companies in convergence sectors such as Fin-Tech, Ad-Tech, and Retail-Tech, Fash-Tech, Cyber-Tech, Ed-Tech and Med-Tech. The capital attracts more international companies from ICT, Electronics, Financial Services and creative industries than any other European city.

London also has the best start-up scene in Europe; it has produced 11 billion-dollar companies since 2000. The city is attracting more and more investment, with 80% of venture capital staying in the capital.

The best ecosystem in Europe for tech exists in London, with 220 accelerators and co-working spaces in the capital. Corporate decision-making happens in London with 37% of the world’s largest companies having a presence here. Its broader business environment gives tech firms access to a diverse range of advice to help them scale.

Boris Johnson’s tech ambassador for the city and Passion Capital partner, Eileen Burbidge MBE, sums it up perfectly: ‘Last year it took London tech firms nine months to reach the $1bn mark, this year they’ve done it in six months. The city has become such a tech powerhouse because it excels over other tech hubs around the world. London combines the technology and digital innovation of Silicon Valley with the Wall Street financing heritage of New York and the policy making of Washington DC – all in one phenomenal city.’

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