London tech founders

A third (33%) of London tech startup founders say customer acquisition is the biggest challenge they face post-launch, with 22% also saying they struggled to obtain funding to develop an initial proof of concept.

According to research, carried out by Studio Graphene in partnership with City Road Communications and UKTN, the majority (52%) of founders also said it took much longer to launch their business than they had originally thought it would.

Cost was also cited as a challenge, with 15% of survey respondents adding that launching their company had proved “far more expensive” than originally predicted.

Unsurprisingly, 22% of participants also highlighted the toll their new venture had on their personal lives, noting that they had found the experience more emotionally draining than they expected. A further 20% said they felt isolated, too.

Furthermore, one in six (15%) of startup founders said they found it difficult to adjust to the life or running an early-stage company.

Access to talent was also cited as a common gripe, with 15% of participants noting they struggled to find the appropriate support to build the tech they required. Some 12% said they couldn’t hire the employees they required to get their business off the ground.

Studio Graphene and City Road Communications collaborated on the project, surveying UKTN’s database to shed some light on London’s much revered tech startup community.

Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, commented on the findings: “It’s amazing to see how much entrepreneurial talent there is in London, particularly in the tech space.

“But despite all the great ideas budding entrepreneurs have, the research shows just how difficult it is to convert an idea into a successful business.

“From our experience, it’s vital tech startups remain focused on their core proposition and ensure the product functions as well as possible – thereafter they can adapt and evolve based on customer feedback, which will set them up for more long-term growth,” Gandhi added.

Dominic Pollard, director of City Road Communications and a regular UKTN columnist went on to note: “London has long been a global hub for exciting, innovative new businesses. And amidst such competition in the tech sector, it’s not surprising that the biggest challenge startups face is to acquire customers after launch.

“Evidently, as well as building an amazing product, tech entrepreneurs in the capital must have an effective strategy to secure positive exposure for their brand in front of the right audience – the need to stand out is greater than ever,” he concluded.

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