London under threat from Paris as Europe’s technology capital

26 September 2017

London is beginning to show signs that its position as Europe’s leading tech hub may be under threat, according to Montreal Associates.

The technology recruitment specialist reckons the uncertainty caused by Brexit and a groundswell of tech entrepreneurship in Paris are attracting both investment and talent away from the UK capital.

Montreal Associates says it has seen a sharp rise in demand for specialist tech talent from Paris and across France over the last 12 months, with the market now accounting for 66 per cent (£26.4m) of its entire revenue this year.

The company’s MD David Thuillier says: “The opening of Station F in Paris – the world’s largest tech startup campus – earlier this summer combined with newly-elected President Macron’s pledge of €10bn to lure foreign investment and talent to France, are major signals of intent for a tech scene eager to challenge London’s pre-eminent position.”

Citing figures released by venture capitalist firm Atomico, Thuillier says more than £2bn was invested in France’s tech sector last year which is £1bn more than in 2015. “Although the UK as a whole received more investment (£4.7bn) last year, its rate of growth was steadier when compared to the relative explosion seen in France. As the level of investment has spiked, so too has the demand for tech talent across the Channel.”

He adds that the French Tech Visa fast-track initiative launched two years ago has made it much easier for startup founders, employees, and investors to live and work in Paris compared to London.

Montreal Associates believes that with the level of investment entering the French market and an “open arms” approach to talent migration, it is only a matter of time that Paris will catch up and challenge London for the number one tech city spot.