For a long time, London has led the way as a tech hub not only across Europe but globally. The recent Brexit decision and competition from other cities may have seen its superiority challenged but it remains a vital hub attracting investment and innovation in equal measures.
What Makes London a Great Tech Hub?
- London recovered well from the financial crash when money was invested in attracting business to the city and several policies put in place to encourage startups. That brought a lot of energy into the capital along with high levels of innovation and creativity
- The tech scene has grown and matured from small beginnings, with many opportunities for startups to access mentoring from old hands and funding that has become vital for success for many
- London has more than its fair share of unicorns – those new companies that are now valued at over a billion. In fact, 13 of the UK’s 17 unicorn companies are based in London
- Creating and nurturing top talent is key to the success of this thriving and innovative tech hub. In London, the talent has stuck around and continues to invest in and help develop those newly arrived on the scene
- With better policies and a strong attempt to attract overseas talent, the community has grown and become more diverse over the years
- Financial technology is beginning to take off big time and there’s no better place for businesses to set up than in the financial capital of Europe, London. Home to 300 of the world’s largest banking institutions, startups benefit from being in close proximity to all the services they need
- London is open to future opportunities and is still an ideal location. The next big thing could well be social medicine and the NHS has over 50 million records that startups can access
- The city is diverse and there are many kinds of startups that can interact and innovate together easily. Getting around is simple and rail and air links are well established
Who are the Competition?
There’s plenty of competition as you might expect in the tech industry. Across Europe, Berlin, Stockholm and Amsterdam are the obvious places to look out for. Amsterdam, in particular, has made great strides in recent years, helped by a high standard of living and a strong tech infrastructure. Initiatives such as StartupAmsterdam have made a big difference and it could be a model that many other cities around the world will start to follow.
Across the rest of the world, tech hubs are thriving in areas such as Chicago and Seattle in the US. Silicon Valley is still the most prominent name on the list. Montreal and Vancouver are also progressing nicely, as is Sydney in Australia. Bangalore in India is the third most populated city in the world and the ideal place to create a strong tech hub infrastructure. Even Moscow, according to The Business Insider, is getting in on the act.
Competition is growing across the world as economies realise the importance of tech hubs. London will remain a major player for some time to come and still leads the list, at least in Europe, if not the rest of the world.
The Future of London as a Tech Hub
One major factor that could impact on London’s success as a tech hub is the recent Brexit decision. There’s no doubt that this is seen as a significant threat to the city and its future as a world leader. That includes the potential impact on skilled workers the capital can attract from areas such as Europe and access to the single market.
However, London has a strong and deep infrastructure in place and a tech eco-system that many other cities can only dream of. The fact that many startups have chosen to make it their base is no quirk of fate – it’s been achieved by building a place for innovation and creativity that people value. It’s no surprise either that the city is home to 13 unicorns and the view following the Brexit decision is more upbeat than many expected.
Initiatives like Tech City UK have been given a good deal of funding by the Government and have used it to good effect. With big global brands, such as Facebook and Amazon, and rising startups that have benefited from the London eco-system, many believe that the tech hub status of the city will continue to go from strength to strength.
There will be a period of change, of course, whether we eventually go for a Brexit. But London as a tech hub has more than enough fire power to weather the coming storm and they’ll have plenty of support from the government and local infrastructure. At the end of the day, it’s the people and the creatives who have brought success to the city and they’re not planning to move anytime soon.