In the last few years the number of start-up businesses of note entering the London office Market has been low to say the least. But now things finally seem to be changing with a number of high profile businesses moving in but what has caused the change?
Joanna Shields, CEO of London’s Tech City Investment Organisation and former Facebook VP of EMEA told reporters this week, “The energy is intoxicating.”
Techstars London’s Managing Director Jon Bradford agreed. The pair sat on a panel this week at Google’s campus in East London and explained what’s changed in their city, ‘the attitude of incoming businesses.’
“What’s different today than two or three years ago is the startup ecosystem in London has a vibrant community,” Bradford said.
Techstars is one of the top startup accelerator programs in the U.S. who are now looking to expand overseas. It was founded in Boulder, Colorado and has spread to multiple cities throughout the United States with London the first city the program has expanded to overseas.
Bradford says Techstars noticed the change in England’s perception towards entrepreneurs, and thinks it’s a great place to find international innovators.
“Being a startup in London today is really normal,” he said. “Previously it was, ‘Look at that freak. He’s working for himself and chances are it isn’t going to work.’ It’s pretty cool. People stare at this building [Google Campus] and they say, ‘Look at them, they work for other people, and it’s weird.’
“Techstars looks at London as much more internationally friendly country than the U.S. itself,” Bradford said. “They’re looking at how to get to more exciting international teams, not just UK teams. And there’s access to government here. They will actually sit and listen to what’s asked of them.”
Whilst London may still be lagging behind other start up heavyweights such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley there are finally some signs of optimism. Facebook now has a presence in London reportedly at the request of its employees, Spotify has a large London presence and Google is due to open a 750,000 sq ft complex in Kings Cross in the future. When you also consider that the Technology based East London Campus has only been open a year yet has already hosted nearly 300 events for over 60,000 people this year it’s easy to see why many are commenting on the change in attitude and confidence. Summly, a start-up founded by a 17 year old in the UK recently hit the headlines when it was bought by Yahoo and this week Mendeley, another London based online management tool aimed at scholars was sold for many millions.
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