7 reasons why London is a great place for a startup
Every day new businesses are turning from dream into reality. While the San Francisco Bay Area has held the undisputed title of global startup hub for a few years now, London is not so far behind, in spite of Brexit. The UK’s Capital is a melting pot of diverse cultures, talented professionals and creative working spaces. With the rapid increase in affordable technology and easier access to funding the reality of building your own startup is much more attainable in recent years, so now you don’t even necessarily have to travel to the Silicon Valley to do it. We reckon London is a great spot for startups looking for the perfect motivational environment (although we might be a bit biased).
1. There’s access to great talent
Some of the best universities in the world are in London, or just outside. University College London, Kings College London, London School of Economics and Imperial College London are churning out talented graduates into the Capital every year, enthusiastic and aching to get their teeth into something interesting and exciting. Oxford and Cambridge are just a stone’s throw away, full of capable students perhaps already trying out business ideas from their halls bedrooms. London is a concentrated hotbed of graduates and young professionals just waiting for their chance to get a job in a fun company that’s going places.
2. It’s a global city
Huge global brands operate in London and it’s easy to see why. For one, the sheer amount of different cultures and ethnicities in London is astounding. Three million of London’s eight million inhabitants were born outside of the UK, and that number is only growing as the city continues to attract to a variety of people in other countries.
If your company works internationally then London provides a variety of ready employees with language skills ranging from French and Spanish to Bahasa and Tagalog. With five major airports, you are also connected to the rest of the world with relative ease, so you can rest easy if you need to do any last-minute trips.
3. It’s easy to do
The UK actively encourages startups by offering everything from financial support schemes, to entrepreneurship visas. Grants for small businesses might take a while of jumping through hoops, but it’s well worth the effort if you can get through the paperwork. Here is a great list of business grants available in the UK for anyone who needs an initial idea of where to look.
If you are looking to move to London from outside of the UK, then the government offers relatively inexpensive entrepreneurship visas for anyone that can prove their financial situation ahead of time. So, if you are already deep into the world of venture capital then you could be in with a chance of relocating to London and taking advantage of all that it has to offer.
4. Investors are everywhere
Speaking of venture capital investors, they are all over the UK Capital. As London becomes more and more of a startup hub it attracts a greater number of people looking to pour their money into the next big thing. Tech startups alone, being a wildly popular and lucrative sector, saw £459m of venture capitalist funds in the first quarter of 2015 – a rise of 66% from the same quarter the previous year. This trend is likely to continue, as startups continue to succeed and draw investors around them like magnets – the first six months of 2016 saw $1.3b of venture capital investment in British companies. This culture of startups in London is what draws the money, so the only thing your own business will do is add to it.
5. There are opportunities for exposure
As a new startup one of the best things for a boost could be the right exposure. With all the newspaper and magazines that operate in London, you are spoilt for choice as to which you should target. And because London is a recognised startup hub there are opportunities to be featured in countless publications both online and in print that specialise in more localised startup news. While you might be fighting against a louder crowd of competition than in another city, you will also reap greater rewards and be seen by a higher number of relevant people if you do succeed.
6. There’s a growing community
The community of entrepreneurs in London is arguably its most attractive asset. The city is so vast that there are startup hubs dotted all around the city, the largest being Old Street in East London. If you are the kind of person who thrives off the inspiration and motivation around you, then London can certainly supply you with that. No startup is an island, so whether you take advantage of networking events, shared office spaces or even just bumping into another entrepreneur at the local coffee shop, you and your business will benefit significantly from the community around you.
7. London is fun
A huge part of the startup scene is the emphasis on company culture. While we know that this means a lot more than the superficial elements of ping pong in the office, there is no harm in indulging in weird and unusual company nights out. London has a constant stream of pop-up bars and one-off events that are perfect for any team that wants to focus on the work/life balance. And don’t forget how easy client entertaining becomes when the restaurant you are at is entertaining enough by itself.
Getting your business off the ground in the first place is the hardest part, so why not make it easier for yourself by building your startup in a place that encourages success and entrepreneurship in all its forms? Ok, we definitely are a bit biased.
BrighterBox is the link between graduates and startups in London. Check us out here and get in touch if you need some bright grads to help your business grow.