Silicon Valley may still serve as the tech start-up capital of the world, and the U.S. may be home to five of the top six cities for start-
ups, but the world of tech startups is ever-expanding. The UK, especially London, is on the rise as a tech hotbed, attracting both new entrepreneurs and established companies to the fold.
The largest tech startup ecosystem in Europe, according to Telefonica, London still outputs only a third of the virtual resources of Silicon Valley, coming in at No. 7 on the list of top startup locations around the world. Like the cities above London on the list, including Los Angeles and New York, London is a large melting pot of a city, which provides a large talent pool with plenty of entrepreneurs in the mix. Where the entrepreneurial spirit meets the world’s talent, startups emerge strong.
According to UK newspaper The Guardian, East London alone is home to more than 3,000 tech companies, which employ more than 50,000 of the city’s workers. Successful startups that have come together in London’s favorable environment include:
· MarketInvoice, a financial company that allows investors to bid on invoices, providing businesses temporary loans using money owed to a company as collateral
· EDITD, a fashion industry site aimed at helping designers and retailers increase visibility and find hot trends
· Secret Escapes, a membership travel-booking site
· Seedrs, an investment hub for startups
When looking at the list of London’s prime new startups, the ability of London’s entrepreneurs to put new twists on tried-and-true formulas is apparent. Secret Escapes is like a UK-oriented version of popular travel sites TripAdvisor or Expedia, while Seedrs has taken a page from the success of investment sites like Kickstarter.
Silicon Valley’s Supremacy
One factor in the discrepancy between Silicon Valley and the rest of the world’s startup output is dedication. According to Telefonica, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs clock nearly 10 working hours per day on average, which puts them at the top for time put in on their startup ventures.
Another major factor that comes into play in the startup race, however, is financing. Silicon Valley investors are more willing to pony up money on potentially risky tech ventures than investors in other cities. This makes companies like London’s new startup Seedrs vital to growing London’s tech presence.
Rackspace’s Start-up program
When it comes to investing in the future of London’s tech scene, help doesn’t have to come entirely from within, though, and U.S. based web-hosting and cloud company Rackspace is taking their successful startup program to the U.K. in 2013. The program, which has helped over 850 U.S. and Australia-based startups get up and running, will provide selected U.K.-based startups with up to $19,000 worth of services, as well as providing tech teams the opportunity to win a trip to Texas to meet with Rackspace founder Graham Weston for a mentoring session.
As far as stealing the crown as startup capital of the world, the U.K. has a long way to go. The increasing interest in U.K.-based startups, especially in the country’s most bustling metropolis of London, though, has the country on the rise as a world leader. As long as investors keep pace with entrepreneurs, the U.K. will remain a contender.