European tech had a successful 2017. Across Europe, roughly $3.5 billion was invested in deep tech companies, a class of technology companies that includes semiconductors, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and artificial intelligence. Furthermore, European chip companies have raised about $1.1 billion in 172 deals since 2012. The U.K. ranks number one in tech investments, followed by France and Germany. In the worldwide race for supremacy in the field of robotics, quantum computing and autonomous vehicles, Germany is taking the lead, while the U.K. is perceived as dominating the field of artificial intelligence, and France excels at drones.
The most promising deep tech companies in Europe are successfully raising large amounts of funding, and opting to stay independent in order to pursue global opportunities. Graphcore raised $50 million via Sequoia Capital (MUTF: SEQUX), Lilium raised $90 million via Tencent (HKG: 0700), and FiveAI raised $35 million via Lakestar. These are just the main players among Europe's startup scene, which features a total of roughly 900 startups engaged in AI alone. AI is projected to be increasingly embraced by open-minded buyers, so that AI's growth will not be hurt by those who refuse to welcome it. Europe's share of the top AI research institutions is far larger than America's and China's. All in all, reporters covering Europe's technology scene have determined that the continent's tech sector is in robust shape, featuring immense expertise, diversification by geography, and high levels of collaboration with traditional industries. The foundations for success in the form of a rich talent pool, globally ambitious founders, and a large, growing and increasingly sophisticated investor base, will lay a good path for Europe's future.
Unsurprisingly, the U.K.'s technology market was among the most vehemently anti-Brexit sectors in the country. Roughly 90% of all technology firms in the U.K. were against Brexit, as it cuts them off from continental Europe's success. But not all forecasts are gloomy: post-referendum, venture capital firms have actually overperformed their investment rates in the tech sector since before the referendum. The 2.4 billion pounds they invested is two times what they gave to Germany, and three times what they gave to France. Nonetheless, pessimism still abounds, and the belief that the technology sector is in trouble, beginning with negatively impacted companies after March 2017, is widespread.