With a record number of 90 overseas tech companies setting up base in London last year, the British capital has supported claims of being Europe’s “silicon capital”.
Statistics from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s inward investment agency, show that about half the new tech companies were from America (including large corporations such as LinkedIn), some from Europe and some from as far as China. This comes just months after Mr. Johnson announced the launch of his ‘London Tech Ambassadors Group’, in which “nine of the biggest industry names get set to help drive investment and talent to the capital”. Can the statistics back up the idea that this government-funded project has attracted the attention of tech and creative start-ups?
It appears the British capital has competition. According to the London Evening Standard, there are other thriving technology clusters in Berlin, Stockholm and Helsinki, with Paris, Copenhagen and Tel Aviv showing growth and potential for the future. To see what they have to offer, we did a little research into some of the locations.
If you head to Berlin, the German capital, chances are that it is for a tourist break. There are loads of things to see, from the remains of the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate, to the Potsdamer Platz. For professionals, however, there are perks for businesses, such as low rents, a plethora of talented workers and a variety of trendy start-ups. Companies such as Soundcloud and Wooga have been born here.
As with many capital cities, Stockholm benefits from an influx of talented workers, and is well-connected to other parts of the country, as well as Europe. The city has been home to some controversial companies but their strengths lie in the P2P and telecoms industries, and they brought us great companies, such as Spotify and Minecraft.
Lastly, there’s Helsinki which was the original home of Nokia, but since the company moved out of the city, they left behind a talent pool of smart and skilled workers. This has fuelled entrepreneurial spirit and led to the mobile and gaming industries thriving.
So, what’s the future for London and these other European entrepreneurial hotspots? In a recent Forbes article, it was highlighted that the publishing of the recent ‘Atlas of ICT Activity in Europe’ report, in which these locations featured, could only have a positive effect on business. They state, “Startups and tech-based businesses located in the highlighted locations can point to the list as proof of their legitimacy and those lower on the list may wish to learn from those near the top. The findings could also move tech investors to take a look at what opportunities are hidden in parts of Europe they’d perhaps not paid much attention to.”
And for London, it seems their luck is in. It was announced this week that they have stolen New York’s crown for best financial hub too, according to a study by PwC. With the city benefiting from a wealth of talented individuals and businesses and, now, the best economic stability worldwide, it seems that London’s definitely doing something right, and can only improve upon this great reputation they have built.