Roughly 5,000 miles away from the famed Silicon Valley lies another startup scene just as nuanced and hopeful. In East London, aspiring tech entrepreneurs pack into the free co-working cafe on Google’s corporate campus for a chance to bounce ideas off each other. There is rarely an empty seat, and the cafe is constantly abuzz with chatter and tech lingo. Although technologically minded communities like this can be found most everywhere, few are so dedicated, passionate, and steadily-growing. This growth is a result of many different factors, including increasing government support, international attention, prominent early successes, a strengthening venture capital environment, and its proximity to London’s financial sector.
And, as the popularity of the co-working cafe shows, entrepreneurs need not go it alone. Many successful “graduates” of the startup scene are willing to be mentors, and there are also various companies that exist to take some of the work off the idea man’s shoulders, like this one based in London. As you can see from a quick glance at Prosyn’s support package page, varying levels of assistance are available, depending on how much the individual cares to do for themselves. The once-hostile and uncharted environment of tech startups is now becoming more and more populated with people willing to share their experience with newcomers.
The energy these days in the London tech startup scene in many ways feels very similar to that of Silicon valley’s early days. There is definitely something big simmering just under the surface that could erupt in a big way at any moment. UK government has obviously noticed this potential as well, since they’re investing 50 million pounds into attracting tech companies to the region and building up “Tech City”, as the scene has come to be called. This involvement is largely because of the potential for large-scale job openings in the wake of the European recession. Big players in the industry have also taken note and have begun to open headquarters in London, joining the estimate 3,000 tech businesses that already call that city home. Google and Facebook both have headquarters in London, and even more are expected to make the leap across the Atlantic in the coming years.
The cities proven strengths are changing the landscape of the tech community for sure, with more than average numbers of startups gravitating to those areas such as advertising, media, and finance which London already does so well. This is one way in which it differs from Silicon Valley. The existing strength of industry lends a helping hand to new tech businesses that get their start there.
While London may still be waiting for its first billion dollar tech company, chances are good that it will emerge very soon. The potential is big in Tech City, and all the resources needed to develop it are on hand. All that’s left now is a little bit of time before London really explodes onto the scene and shows off what it can do! With more and more businesses being started every day in London, it’s only a matter of time now.