Boris Johnson: Why are there no multibillion pound tech firms in London?

By Rob Virtue on June 16, 2014 4:30 PM |

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London may be the tech centre of Europe but it's still a long way behind Silicon Valley, admits Boris Johnson.

The mayor said there needed to be a home-grown firm of the size of Google or Facebook before the UK capital can consider itself a rival to California.

Speaking at the launch of London Technology Week, Mr Johnson said: "There are still some things we need to make sure we do better - for instance, getting really good broadband across London.

"And although we've got the biggest tech sector in Europe we haven't yet produced knock-out multibiilion pound companies. They have in Silicon Valley.

"We need to explore why that is. Is it a certain British diffidence about making billions? Is it that we haven't got kick ass business people here? Or that the banks aren't as proactive as they should be?"

However, he said London's Tech City was leading the way in Europe and he was optimistic for its future.

The Mayor was speaking at Old Street tech space Central Working on Monday morning.

"In this part of the city we have a huge demand for people wanting officer space but there's potential across the city," he said.

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"If you look at what's happening in tech, you could think Google, Facebook and Twitter have taken it all but it's not the case. This is the beginning of an industrial revolution and we need to be at the centre of it."

Over 30,000 people are expected to attend London Technology Week which sees over 200 events take place across the capital from Monday to Friday.

To launch the festival, Mr Johnson took on his opposite number from New York, Michael R Bloomberg, in constructing a computer with the help of local schoolchildren, but the mayor from the US capital came out on top.