London is a key hub in the drive for global innovation. Most Fortune500 busiensses have offices here, particularly the leaders in the financial industry, which explains why so many FinTech startups are born in London. Just as London has become an innovation hub that drives the founding of exciting startups, it is increasingly seeing its startups have successful exits.
Having said that, while 5 of the top 10 tech exits in the UK in 2014 were for London based startups, it is NaturalMotion Games, based in Oxford that takes the top spot. The social gaming startup was acquired by Zynga in January 2014 for $527 million, which should be recognized as an amazing exit considering that at the time they had only 7 employees and raised only $11 million since the company was founded.
The next 4 companies that made the top tech exits in the UK in 2014 are all based in London. In second place is DeepMind, the startup focused on artificial intelligence, which was acquired by Google also in January for $500 million. This is an impressive statement by Google of the growth of London’s tech scene as it was Google’s largest acqusition in Europe so far.
King.com’s initial public offering (IPO) is the London based social gaming developer startup that rounds up the top 3 tech exits in the UK of 2014. In March, the business went public by offering $326 million of shares to the public market when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NSYE). While King.com’s market capitalization is down 15% since it did its IPO last year, its share price has seen a bit of a revival lately as its climbed by 20% over the last few weeks.
The remaining London based startups that made it among the top tech exits in the UK in 2014 are Base79 which was acquired for $85 million by Rightster, ControlCircle, which was acquired by ControlCircle for $65 million, and Rosslyn Analytics which raised $17 million in its IPO in London.
The UK tech scene is growing. The value of some of these top tech exits last year only serves to further highlight that fact. At this point it’s only a matter of time before $500 million and possible $1 billion exits become more commonplace in the United Kingdom.