London's start-up scene 'bigger' than Silicon Valley

The capital is the best place to launch a tech business, said speakers at a student-led London Business School event

London’s Silicon Roundabout will be bigger than Silicon Valley, making it the best place in the world for tech entrepreneurs to launch their businesses, according to speakers at London Business School’s (LBS) ‘#GenerationE’ Entrepreneurship, Tech and Media Summit.

Alex Wood, Editor-in-Chief at tech publication TheMemo, said: “Is this the new Silicon Valley? Hell no. We’re actually building something much bigger. I’m talking about fashion, media, finance, design, marketing and property. We are the world leader in all of these spaces, and that’s what makes London unique. 

“Silicon Valley might have billion dollar companies on its doorstep, but London has some of the brightest minds in fashion and design – all you’ve got to do is add a little bit of technology. 

“London, I really believe, is the best place to launch your company, because all the ingredients are right on your doorstep. You just need to add to the mix a little bit of innovation and a little bit of tech and you’ve got yourselves a really good opportunity.” 

Budding entrepreneurs launched more than 600,000 businesses in Britain last year, up from the record 581,000 in 2014. London saw 196,146 new ventures launch, according to StartUp Britain, a government-backed campaign to support aspiring entrepreneurs. 

On average, small to medium-sized enterprises contribute 50% or more to GDP, account for 30% of exports, provide 60% of jobs and create 70% of new employment opportunities, according to the OECD.

Wood said: “Over 15,000 start-ups have launched in Tech City, not just last year, but every single year for the last three years. These numbers have never been seen before.”

“Entrepreneurial energy and activity is not just confined to Shoreditch – it’s happening all over London.” 

Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, an LBS alumnus, partner at Balderton Capital and former partner at Uber in San Francisco, added: “London has a gravitational pull for start-ups and technology.” He also said that with an ever-growing pool of successful founders in London, aspiring entrepreneurs have “more and more people to look up to”. 

As the summit took place, the event’s title, #GenerationE, trended on Twitter across London