Home is where the heart is
Synonymous with famous landmarks, chic neighbourhoods and multiculturalism, London is a dream destination for tourists, enchanting millions of travellers each year. However, is the capital an ideal place to launch a tech startup?
In the words of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan: “London is a fantastic place to grow and scale a global tech business. We celebrate the diverse, international nature of our tech ecosystem and it is great to see our thriving startup community being recognised in this report.
“In the face of Brexit and the global pandemic, London has demonstrated its resilience and proven itself once again to be one of the best places globally for tech innovations and startups.”
The city is filled with incredible tech talent and expertise. Four of the world’s top 10 universities are situated in the capital, offering startups exclusive access to its talent. The capital provides the opportunity for recent graduates, and entrepreneurs to upskill, meaning they can continually develop their knowledge. Due to its ability to provide renowned tech education, startups have access to highly skilled, qualified employees. What’s more, London attracts and is home to investors and investment capital due to its ecosystem and host of entrepreneurs.
With over 300,000 developers in London, there is a huge pool of talent waiting for startups to tap into, including some of the best programmers in the world. What’s more, it has ranked highly across the board for talent, particularly for its access and quality to STEM talent.
Many consider London to be the startup capital of Europe. Home to over 70 startup incubators and accelerators, it boasts opportunity for financial investment. In the first half of 2021, London demonstrated record levels of venture capital investment, with tech startups receiving £9.8bn. Startups also have access to angel investors and crowdfunding platforms.
The capital also has a proven track record for producing startups with a valuation of over £1bn (a unicorn), with 16 currently based in the city, demonstrating why it is viewed as a city where technology businesses can succeed and thrive. This success also shows why countless entrepreneurs see London as the first choice when choosing where to launch a startup.
Networking and opportunities
Networking opportunities are enhanced by London’s 150 plus co-working spaces. Some even consider London to be the global capital of co-working, and the demand for such spaces is still growing according to Cushman and Wakefield’s Co-Working Report. A wealth of co-working spaces provides London based tech startups with a flexible approach to grow in the early development stage. Co-working spaces also offer a great solution to high rent prices for office spaces. Spaces include Hubble, Second Home and CoWorkingLondon.
London is home to London Tech Week, a weeklong event focused on tech and innovation, exploring ideas for positive impacts in business and wider society. The event attracts over 55,000 entrepreneurs and innovators. This is just one of hundreds of opportunities, meaning startups always have the opportunity to grow.
Living within the capital gives startups the opportunity to benefit from global connectivity. According to research, there are more European headquarters in London than in other European cities. This gives startups unbeatable access to international contacts, projects, and talent. In addition, the chance to possess an entrepreneur-friendly visa ensure its easy for startups to travel to the city from all parts of the world. Access to five major airports further enhances how connected London allows you to be with the rest of the world. Startups based in London can also tap into global markets with ease, due to London’s advantageous time zone, providing further opportunity to grow internationally.
How to improve
To become the tech hotspot of the world, London could look to address its infrastructure, as well as the digital skills gap and shortage. There is a strong need for disruptive technologies and innovations to be embraced by risk taking.
Furthermore, as with living in most major cities, the cost of living is high. A solution could be to commute to an office or co-working space from further outside of the city, for example Bromley, Hillingdon, or Enfield. With great transport links, including the London Underground, Overground and Transport for London bus services, it makes it easy to commute into the centre of the city.
Vibrancy, inspiration and innovation
With a host of shopping, entertainment, one-off events and sporting opportunities, London provides plenty of opportunity to indulge in company culture. Startups can embrace company nights out, supposed to improve team moral and create a better work/life balance. Celebration of diversity, encouraging innovation with enticing funding opportunities, networking prospects and connectivity make London stand out as a startup hotspot. It’s clear, the city radiates vibrancy, inspiration and innovation. Living and operating in such a city means there are endless opportunities, with different perspectives to consider.
There is plenty of opportunity for your tech startup to thrive within the capital, will you give it a chance?
This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe