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People walk through Coal Drops Yard in London, on May 11. 

People walk through Coal Drops Yard in London, on May 11. 

Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Business
The Big Take

Venture Capital’s Billions Are Taking Over London Finance

The bankers of the Square Mile ruled London for centuries. Now private money is making the running.

In the City of London’s 1980s heyday most well-behaved investment bankers paid little heed to King’s Cross, then a seedy, drug-ridden den of vice a few miles away from their trading floors and wine bars. Today the area attracts tech giants, startups and global investors, even as the centuries-old heart of London’s financial world stands still.

At the heart of the renaissance is Alphabet Inc., which has built Google’s £1 billion ($1.24 billion) UK headquarters and housed artificial-intelligence powerhouse DeepMind in the area. The British base of Meta Platforms Inc. is close by. Early investors LocalGlobe and Balderton Capital are based locally; they have funded fintech firms ranging from Wise Plc to Revolut Ltd.