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While bankers battle bonuses, the tech sector booms

While banks in Britain, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands prep themselves for another legal battle over bonus pay, and the front rows of London Fashion Week are peppered with teenage vloggers, TechCrunch has been quietly working away at bringing another party to London this October: TechCrunch Disrupt.

But some of those controversial bonuses may well be coming from tech investments, considering the success with which British startups have secured investments over the last year.

London has long acted as a "bridge" both for US tech companies entering Europe, and as a stepping stone towards US expansion by European firms, commented Mike Butcher, editor-at-large at TechCrunch. Located neatly between North America and Asia, many European startups use London as a base for further international development.

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Geography is only one aspect though, Butcher continued on City AM. London's potential for tech company M&A flotations is also a significant draw. In the past year, Google bought British startup DeepMind, while Natural Motion was acquired by Zynga – two acquisitions totalling around $1 billion (£610m). Further to this, 2013 saw 22 technology companies raise $795m in equity funding through the London Stock Exchange and its junior listings venue Aim. Accordingly to Dealogic, that's the largest figure since 2006.

The High Growth Segment – a recent addition to the London Stock Exchange – is also active in attracting tech flotations. Just Eat used it first and saw its shares shoot up on the first day of trading, increasing the company's value to £1.5 billion.

According to Bloomberg, London now has slightly more jobs in financial tech than New York (44,000 to 43,000), the sector's growth perhaps aided by the proximity of the Square Mile to Tech City.

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Similarly, the startups of London's Tech City are a mere 20 minutes away by Tube from London's equivalent of Silicon Valley's Sand Hill Road – a haven for VCs. This, plus government tax breaks, special entrepreneur-friendly visas, and the opening of government ICT contracts to small businesses, makes London a handy place to start, develop and sell a startup.

See more of Butcher's comments on City AM (opens in new tab).

Disrupt Europe 2014: London is from 20-21 October.