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The IT industry has never had it so good

Record levels of investment. And the UK leads the way

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The European IT industry attracted record levels of investment in 2000 - up 68 per cent from the year before to hit 11.5 billion euros (£7 billion), according to an extensive report just published by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The amount of investment is also expected to increase by 32 per cent this year to 15.2 billion euros (£9.3 billion). Technology now accounts for nearly a third of all investment across all industries in Europe. In short, the IT industry has never had it so good.

And the UK in particular. It leads the investment league table with 26 per cent of the total (£1.83 billion) coming to Blighty. This is followed by France on 21 per cent, who leapfrog Germans this year, with 20 per cent.

Software companies are receiving the most funding (31 per cent of it) but the good news is that more investment than ever is going in young companies building the latest technology.

Europe still has a long way to go though to catch up with the US. The average deal in Europe was up slightly at 1.5 million euros but this is chickenfeed compared to the US average of 18.5 million euros.

However, due to several factors including the increase in entrepreneur culture in Europe, increased globalisation, huge growth in e-commerce and most importantly the emergence of Europe as the hotbed for the latest technologies - in particular mobiles phones - Europe looks like it will continue to close the gap on the US.

This doesn't mean the crazy days of VC candy-from-baby funding and IPOs every other week are coming back. According to PwC, VCs are going back to basics: management, money and markets.

The PwC report, entitled Money for Growth 2000 was the third of its kind from the Global Technology Industry Group. It was based on information from the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association annual survey.

According to PwC, the fact that 1,400 VCs across 21 countries were quizzed makes the report "by far the most extensive and comprehensive survey ever undertaken of private equity and venture capital investments in EMEA". ®

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