Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson speaking at the official launch of the first ever London Technology Week.IBTimes UK

A lack of "kick-ass business people" and "a certain British diffidence to making billions of pounds" could be why the UK is yet to produce a real technology giant according to Lodon Mayor Boris Johnson.

At the launch of the inaugural London Technology Week, Johnson questioned why the UK is yet to produce a technology giant of the likes of Google or Facebook.

"Although we've got the biggest tech sector anywhere in Europe here in London, we haven't yet produced the kind of knock-out multi-multi-billion pound business of the kind they produce in Silicon Valley," Johnson said. "We need to explore the reasons why that might be so."

The Mayor was talking at the official opening of London Technology Week - a series of over 200 events over the coming days aimed at showcasing the capital's tech strengths.

Tens of thousands of technology entrepreneurs, investors and developers, together with some of the world's leading tech companies, will be brought together in what is the largest collection of tech events ever seen in Europe.

'Gobbled up' by US companies

While the startup scene in London is burgeoning, some have expressed concerns that a lack of venture capital funding in the UK has meant that successful startups are forced to sell-out to tech giants in the US like Google and Facebook.

Following Google's acquisition of UK artificial intelligence startup DeepMind in January, founder and CEO of the London-based startup Reward Technology, Paul Sheedy, told IBTimes UK that it was "sad that so many tech companies sell their souls".

"I'd love to stay (in the UK)," Sheedy said. "(But) my gut feeling would be that, looking at the international market, it would most likely be an American corporation that would want to gobble us up."

Venture capitalists 'not imaginative or proactive' enough

Johnson believes there could be a number of reasons behind this lack of significant growth beyond the seed stage, and claims more needs to be done to ensure that startups get the support they need to develop into multi-billion pound companies

"We've got to work out what it is (that's prevented the UK from producing a tech giant)," Johnson said. "Is it a certain British diffidence about making billions of pounds? Is it that we don't have the right kind of kick-ass business people here in London? Is it that the banks and the venture capital industry aren't as imaginative and as proactive as they could be?

"We need to think of the reasons why we're not yet knocking the rest of the planet out of the park."