London Mayor Boris Johnson is in Israel this week championing the capital’s technology scene in a bid to get more Israeli technology companies to expand to London and IPO on its stock markets.
Israel, and Tel Aviv in particular, is well-known for building successful technology companies and the UK economy benefits when they expand here because they create new jobs and boost GDP.
Many Israeli technology companies expand to the US first for a number of reasons, including the size of its market, but Johnson wants more of them to consider London.
“London is the natural tech partner for Israeli firms looking to expand,” said Johnson at the start of a three-day trade mission to Israel. “With access to a world class talent pool and a booming digital economy it is no surprise that Israeli tech companies are making London their home and choosing the London Stock Exchange as their international market for expansion. I’m here to encourage even more of Israel’s top tech talent to head to our shores.”
London is currently home to 141 Israeli tech firms, according to research from London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional agency and IVC Research Center. That’s more than half of the 239 Israeli companies with an office in the UK, according to data collected by IVC.
There are currently 16 Israeli tech firms listed across London Stock Exchange’s markets with a combined market value of £3.7 billion. Between them they have raised over £240 million through public listings over the last five years.
The increasing amounts of venture capital money available in London is one of the main factors attracting Israeli firms to the UK capital, London & Partners said.
Venture Capital investment into London is already at record levels, reaching over $US1.7 billion (£1.3 billion) since the beginning of the year, beating the $US1.3 billion (£860 million) raised in the whole of 2014.
A report published last month by innovation charity Nesta and the European Digital Forum suggests that London is the best city in Europe for digital entrepreneurs looking to start and scale up a digital business.
Speaking alongside the Mayor at the event at Google’s ‘Campus Tel Aviv’, Meir Brand, Managing Director EMEA Emerging Markets for Google, said: “Tel Aviv and London are two of the most exciting technology hubs, and Israel and the UK are increasingly influential centres of innovation. Both foster entrepreneurship, have first class tech talent, and are attractive to investors.
“Google set up its first Campus for startups and developers in London — and it’s second in Tel Aviv. I’m sure that collaboration and partnerships between the tech communities in Israel and the UK will flourish even more in years to come.”
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