Despite the gloomy economic climate of past years, London Tech Week is a testament to the success and growth of the city as a global technology hub.
As was said at the launch of London Technology Week, London is the most nutrient dense ecosystem for the startup community.
With its international business culture and strong networks, the city has flourished in the past five years, becoming a robust contributor to UK’s economy, alongside traditional sectors like finance. This is why London is the leading inward investment destination in Europe. It is fantastic to see how far this city has come since 2006 when Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin founded Huddle.
Huddle’s success can be attributed not only to meeting an important and growing need, (solving the problem of helping organisations better collaborate on digital content) and the hard work by a talented team, but also to the infrastructure, culture and economic environment that London provided. Geographically, close proximity to central government, and the support of government for cloud services, as well as easy access to London’s world-leading financial services helped the business to scale.
Likewise the flow of talent in London is particularly impressive. From London you can extract talent from all around Europe across creative and technical industries. The benefits of this are massive for any business looking to grow.
Over the last few years, the barriers to entry for startups have decreased in many ways. The realty space available in London has grown and opened doors for small businesses, particularly through coworking sites that allow the flexibility needed for young startups. This, as well as access to funding, makes it easier for entrepreneurs to explore new ideas and for startups to quickly establish themselves on the scene.
With more players in the market, the possibility of ‘unicorns’ – $1bn companies – grows. There have been 17 unicorns created since 2000; this number will only grow in the years to come.
Yet, the longevity of these unicorns is irrelevant at this juncture. What is important is that, after the US, the UK is leading the world in high-growth, innovative companies – especially within the ecommerce and fintech sectors. This alone is enough to continue fueling an increasingly vibrant economy that attracts world-class talent and world-class investment, and ensure success for years to come.
Stuart Cochran is CTO at Huddle, one of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty