Location is a central concern for any budding startup. There are so many things to consider: rental costs, transport links, community life, local business opportunities… the list goes on and on. What area is right for you? How do you decide?
Well, there are many reasons why London is considered the financial hub of Europe, and it’s ripe with the kinds of opportunities that you just won’t find anywhere else. If you’re ambitious and unwilling to settle for anything less than the best, it might just be perfect for you.
Let’s take a look at exactly why London should be your startup’s base of operations:
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London’s passionate relationship with the tech industry
Many cities assert themselves to be supporters of the tech industry, but few display that support as sincerely and stylishly as London.
Not only is London considered the most attractive destination for fintech (technology that covers the finance sector), it’s home to some of the biggest players in the tech industry— both Google and Apple are opening new London offices, and it will also soon house the European HQ of the cloud content management platform Box.
Technology plays a huge role in creating a successful startup, and there are so many things for young entrepreneurs to consider— the social media platforms you target, the software you use to build your website, and the digital marketing options available to get your name out there. With new options coming out all the time, where better to keep up with progress than London?
And while you can change the technology you use fairly easily as time goes by, your location is much more complicated to change, so the importance of getting it right the first time cannot be overstated. London has excellent transport links to pretty much anywhere in the world, and is an easy hub for North American companies and investors to come to. The importance of face-to-face meetings and proximity cannot be overstated — it’s vital that founders are able to built stable relationships to ensure stable growth.
London’s ecosystem and networking opportunities
London isn’t just a city of over 10 million people: it’s a thriving ecosystem that has networking opportunities packed into every corner. Just think about the elements that make it such a popular hub:
- Its vast range of people from different backgrounds and nationalities
- Its cultural position as a bridge between the US and the EU
- Its transport links to almost anywhere in the world
- Its high level of technology
There are so many networking opportunities for new entrepreneurs and startups that it’s a case of picking through the many different options and deciding which one is best for you. It doesn’t really matter what your niche is, you’re bound to find something relevant.
This review of the top 17 meetups in London is a great place to start doing some research, so check it out— and if you’re interested in the ecommerce sector, Shopify merchants have a quarterly meetup to discuss the industry. That’s exactly the kind of networking event that’s perfect for startups — the mix of agencies, brands, and freelancers is the ideal heady mix for creative partnerships.
Every niche interest has its own offline meeting place somewhere in the city, so be brave and dive in. Starting your own meetup group can be a great way to meet potential partners and investors, and they have been known to become fruitful places for beta testing and product launches.
Conferences are also big in London — and some of the most exciting marketing and tech conferences have found their homes in leafy London squares. Going to conferences is an excellent way for young startups to learn, as well as be seen and heard.
Startups with a social conscience will also find that their message is appreciated by Londoners, who respect diversity and actively support social movements. Finding support and mentors isn’t hard — if you put yourself out there.
Jumping on local hashtags and ‘micro-cities’ within London is also a good idea. Some coworking spaces in the city have become almost legendary as hubs of commerce and education. It’s not a bad idea to get day passes to a few and explore the London startup scene from the inside.
London’s vast population of potential investors
England’s capital isn’t just home to Buckingham Palace; it’s also teaming with investors who are willing and able to give your startup the funds you need in order to make it a success. Just check these figures for evidence of the funding available:
- £459 million was invested by venture capitalists into tech startups in 2015
- Startups secured £2.99 billion of investment in 2017
- London was responsible for 80% of tech startup investment in 2017
The figures speak for themselves. If you have a great idea for a startup, are eager to seize any networking opportunities, and want to make the most of technological innovation, then London has the investment you need to make your dream a reality.
And if you don’t believe in your idea so strongly that you think it could attract investment in a competitive business environment like that of London, do you really want to pursue it at all? Back yourself to make it, and show what you can accomplish in the big leagues.
Building your own business is one of the most rewarding things that you can do, which is why it’s vitally important that you make the best possible choices for it. The location you choose won’t just affect your earning potential; it will also affect the mark your brand ultimately leaves on the world.
If these are the things that get you out of bed in the morning, then London isn’t just the biggest city in England; it’s the perfect tool to further your business ambitions and the ideal location for your startup.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest micro biz news and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.