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  • European Tech Is a Trade-War Haven for U.S. and Asian Investors

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. U.S. and Asian investors are piling more cash into Europe’s tech sector, drawn by a growing number of successful startups and its relatively neutral status as tensions between Washington and Beijing simmer.More than one in five funding rounds raised in Europe involved a U.S. or Asian investor, up from one in 10 in 2015, London-based venture capital firm Atomico said in a report published Thursday.“Europe potentially can become a beneficiary as the middle ground between the two regions,” said Tom Wehmeier, Atomico’s head of research, who wrote the report with law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and the organization behind the Slush technology conference in Helsinki. A driving factor for Asian investment activity in Europe is “the perception that the U.S. has been a closed market for them.”While the total invested in Europe is still much smaller than Asia and the U.S., it’s growing while they stagnate or shrink, the report shows. European tech companies are set to raise a record $34.3 billion in 2019, up from $24.6 billion last year. By contrast, investments in the U.S. are slightly down from $118 billion last year, while dropping off sharply in Asia to $62.5 billion after a steep increase in recent years.North American venture capital funds poured almost $10 billion into Europe this year, up from $5.8 billion in 2018, while Asian funds have invested $4 billion, up from $1.7 billion, according to the report, which estimated full-year figures based on the first nine months of the year.The report is based on data from organizations including the London Stock Exchange and the European Investment Fund, as well as a survey of founders, investors and developers.The growing influx of foreign capital comes as the U.S. and China have been locked in an ongoing trade dispute for the past year, with tariffs roiling financial markets. The world’s two largest economies are seeking to close a preliminary agreement to end their trade war, but negotiations remain tough.The “unprecedented level of interest” in European tech is also driven by the strength of the companies in the region, Wehmeier said. He pointed to the 99 venture-backed firms in Europe now valued at more than $1 billion, up from 22 five years ago.Read more about the trade war here.Still, the cash isn’t necessarily being distributed equitably. A lack of diversity persists in Europe’s tech sector. In 2019, 92% of all funding went to all-male teams in Europe, and funding for all-women teams is declining, according to the report. About 84% of the founders surveyed identified as white, while less than 1% said they were black, African or Caribbean.Atomico had flagged the problem of diversity in European startups a year ago when it found that about half of women in a survey said they’d experienced discrimination. A bright spot has been quantum computing where 23% of European companies in the field had a mixed gender or woman-led founding team.To contact the reporter on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Amy Thomson, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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