's venture capital circles remain defiant in acity grappling with its future role following the U.K.'s vote to leave theEuropean Union.
OnOct. 2, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to trigger theinfamous Article 50 - the mechanism for a member state to leave the EU - by theend of March 2017. The latest developments caused the pound to dip to $1.2737 in early trading on Tuesday; its lowestlevel against the U.S. dollar since 1985.
Yet,even as Brexit concerns mount and uncertainty builds, VC investors believethere are historical reasons for London's tech community to remain optimistic.
Firstly,London still is a top destination for tech talent. An October 2015 report fromLondon & Partners found that London is home to 71,000 software developers,more than any other major city in the world. The capital also shines when itcomes to fundraising, raising $2.3 billion of the $3.6 billion raised by U.K.firms in 2015.
Thequestion now hanging over London's tech city is what impact any new immigrationlaw may have on skilled labor in the U.K. and whether the hindrance in movementof people and goods between the U.K. and Europe might play directly into thehands of European tech hotspots like Barcelona,Berlin and Stockholm.
Anumber of VC investors, including Rogan Angelini-Hurll, partner at PROfoundersCapital, shrugged off immigration concerns, insisting that like Silicon Valleyand the U.S., London would continue to attract top talent.
"America,if you're not American, is bloody difficult to get into, and yet peopledo," Angelini-Hurll recently said.
MartynHolman, partner at a London-based early stage VC fund Forward Partners, alsoargued that an open skill based immigration policy is still possible within thetech sector. At any rate, Holman believes the early stage businesses thatpopulate London's tech city would be the least likely to relocate, meaninglittle would change in the short to medium term.
Londonis also the destination of choice for many American tech companies looking fora European base.
Lastmonth, Apple becamethe latest global tech giant to announce a new London office. The smartphonemaker will set up a new base of operations in the capital's iconic BatterseaPower Station, following announcements in the past year of and 's new offices in Fitzrovia andKings Cross, respectively.
SadiqKhan, the current mayor of London, described the move as "a further signthat London is open to the biggest brands in the world and the leading city fortrade and investment."
Butperhaps more crucially, the City of London's status as a world leader in financialservices secures London as a hub for companies and investors from across theglobe; the success of the City and its tech cluster remain closely linked.
As aresult, the self-professed tech capital of Europe, which is hometo more tech unicornsthan any other country in Europe, boasts 18 companies with a sky-highvaluation, more than double Sweden's unicorn account, three times as many asGermany and six times the amount in France.
Writingin an op-edthis week, London Stock Exchange Group CEO Xavier Rolet argued other countrieshave tried but failed to replicate London's"liquidcapital pool" and "breadth of investors" for the wider EuropeanSME community.
Giventhat London's AIM has raised £15 billion in capital for British and European SMEs, a negativeBrexit scenario would leave few gains for Europe.
"Ifbusiness leaves the U.K., the European economy would suffer and very little ofthat business is likely to go to Europe anyway," Rolet concluded.