London plays an important role in shaping the startup culture in the country, and more and more investors and entrepreneurs are now moving to London to explore the business opportunities it has to offer. If you are one of the many, who are shifting base to the city, here is a quick guide about the local startup ecosystem to help you transition into the new city better. Investments in the United Kingdom are on the rise with little or no effect of the Brexit, making it still one of the top countries for startup ecosystems.
London is the capital city of UK and has a population of over 14 million people. The city’s primary industries apart from the startup sector include digital media, pharmaceuticals, tourism, retail and fashion, and real estate among the others. These are some of the main industries contributing to the city’s GDP of $542 billion. Moving to London can be fruitful for those whose business ideas are based in the sectors mentioned above, and the tech sector as companies in these areas have laid a strong foundation to draw strength from for startups.
London has helped the country maintain its place in the top 10 countries in the world for business with the maximum concentration of startup activities in the city. Brexit may have slowed down talent moving to London, but there is still a large pool of human resource capital within the country that is valuable.
Why is London a Leading Startup Ecosystem?
London’s business climate may have been affected due to the Brexit but the city has bounced back, and things have started picking up. Entrepreneurs from around the country are moving to London to make the most of the rich venture capital scene. The city has seen an increase in venture capital funding even after Brexit and broke the record with $6.6 billion in 2017. According to a report by the Startup Genome, London is Europe’s startup capital and one of the highest performing ones in the region.
The city has more than 570,000 startups that are valued at an average of $3.3 million. These ventures have contributed to creating a healthy startup jobs market in the region. London has proved that it has everything to help innovative business ideas scale the market and succeed with the 11 unicorn companies present in the city. These are some of the best characteristics of London that makes it a fantastic place for startups.
Moving to London for Starting Up is Not Tedious
While Brexit may have affected the number of startup job seekers moving to London, entrepreneurs are still rolling into the city to start up. There is minimal government red-tape, and special visas for entrepreneurs are still high in demand. The entrepreneur visa helps startups move to the city in a hassle-free manner if they are eligible. The eligibility factors include knowledge of English and access to 50,000 pounds ($65632) among the others. This funding access criterion may be a barrier for bootstrapped startups or entrepreneurs planning to move to the city to raise funds.
Startups in London Beat The High Real Estate Costs by Sharing
Ensuring optimal use of the monetary capital is an essential aspect of running a startup, and this can sometimes get difficult with high real estate costs. A problem shared is a problem halved and so is the case with high office rents in London. Entrepreneurs and startups moving to London can opt for co-working offices that can help them save money in many ways. Firstly they have versatile office plans to suit startups and entrepreneurs with different budgets. Secondly, these offices are fully furnished and set up with all the required amenities which can help save on setting up the office.
Global brands like WeWork and Servcorp are two of the premium brands in this sector. Spaces (another globally present co-working brand) have offices in over 10 locations with an array of facilities and amenities including concierge and in-house ICT team for startups in London using their workspaces.
Move to London for its Top Notch Accelerators and Incubator Programs
For startups and entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom seeking to grow under the guidance of experts through accelerator and incubator programs should undoubtedly shift base to this capital city. London has a good share of excellent accelerator and incubator programs that are on the lookout for promising business ideas to be shaped and launched. Some of the prominent programs established in the city include Seedcamp, Hatch, Startupbootcamp, Pi Labs, and Entrepreneur First.
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Investors Love Moving to London
London’s growth as an important innovation hub in the region has given rise to a robust community of angel investors and venture capital firms. There are over 6000 angel investors in the city, with some of them willing to offer mentorship and guidance apart from funds. Entrepreneurs moving to London also have access to prominent venture capital firms like Accel, Allegro Capital, and Global Founders Capital among the many others. Some of them have played a vital role as an investor in the development of companies that are global giants today like Facebook and Linkedin.
Startup ecosystems are multi-dimensional, and the growth for each one of them depends on a lot of factors. These are just some of the common factors that are fuelling the growth of the startup ecosystem in London. The conducive environment along with a number of ecosystem partners create a fertile ground that works in favor of entrepreneurs, startups and startup job seekers in London. Some of these ecosystem partners in London include:
Microsoft for Startups
London Accelerator Network
City of London
Tech London Advocates
A Super Charged Tech Sector Sets London Apart
The success of London’s startup ecosystem without the local tech sector is unfathomable. The city’s tech success can be attributed to the strong support by the government. The Prime Minister of the country has announced that the government will be putting in £20 billion in the ecosystem to help drive research and development of tech by 2020. Government funded bodies like Tech Nation and the vast tech talent in the country are also significant catalysts for the sector’s success. The sub-sector strengths of the startup ecosystem lie in:
Fintech Startups In London
The sub-sector stole the show in 2017 with venture capital investments worth $1.3 billion that made up for 20% of the total regional investments in that year. The startups that made this possible include TransferWise, Monzo, and Funding Circle. While TransferWise raised $ 280 million in Series E round of funding, Monzo and Funding Circle both raised $100 million each. The city’s large concentration of financial activities employs more than 300,000 people and lays a strong base for the fintech segment. Level39, hosting more than 170 fintech startups, is a crucial ecosystem partner for the segment and offers ideal networking opportunities for fintech entrepreneurs moving to London
Adtech Startups In London
The advertising sector in London consists of a workforce of 80,000 professionals and advertising honchos like adam&eveDDB and AMV BBDO. The creative talent in the city is unmatched, and the advertising hub is globally successful. The development of advertising technologies plays a huge role in this magnanimous success of the advertising sector in the city. A notable story is that of LoopMe, a startup that uses AI for optimizing mobile video advertising and has got a funding of $10 million so far.
Blockchain Startups In London
After Silicon Valley, London has the maximum share in global Blockchain development. The city is an emerging hub for blockchain activities and one of the biggest ones in the world. Startup success stories in the sub-sector include that of Cashaa and Blockchain.com. The former is a banking platform based on blockchain that has raised $18 million in ICO in 2017. The platform is being developed to take care of all financial needs within a single platform. Blockchain.com is a software company creating products for Bitcoin users. The company started in 2011 and has raised $40 million Series B round of funding.
Brexit may have created difficulties for international human resource capital to move to the London startup ecosystem but there hasn’t been much of an effect on the flow of venture capital funds. The city has an active entrepreneurial community and a fair share of startup activities as well. Moving to London to explore its rapidly growing tech sector is a safe bet that can be rewarding with the right support.
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