London, the longtime financial capital of Europe, has of late also become a major center for its entrepreneurial activity. Techstars operates two accelerators, one of them focused on fintech and backed by Barclays. Seedcamp is the most well-known accelerator in Europe, and it has had a significant impact since its founding. Additionally, efforts by the City and the Government to diversify London’s bank-centric economy have yielded a surprisingly vibrant startup landscape. The Tech City initiative, launched in 2010, has sought to encourage entrepreneurs to put down roots in east London. This concerted marketing effort, combined with London’s low tax rates and business-friendly government, makes investment and entrepreneurship attractive. However, London still suffers from a high cost of living and an angel community that lacks the experience and culture to make the large bets that make small, promising enterprises into big wins.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
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Up and coming startup
Robin joined Index in 2010 to help launch Index Seed. His investments include, Citymapper, Farfetch, MOO, and Transferwise. Prior to joining Index, Robin co-founded The Accelerator Group, with his son Saul, an early stage technology investor.
Eze Vidra currently serves as General Partner at Google Ventures Europe, where he helps oversee the company’s European investments. He has also worked for Ask.com and AOL in addition to founding VC Café and Techbikers, both of which have become major staples of the London startup scene.
Jon Bradford is an expert in the process of getting a startup to scale. As the founder of ignite100, Startup Wide Guys, Eleven, and f6s, Bradford has an unmatched background in startup acceleration and mentorship. He applies this knowledge as the Managing Director of TechStars’ branch in London.
Michael Acton Smith is a London entrepreneur who has led gaming company Mind Candy since 2004. He previously co-founded Firebox.com, a retailer, and Calm, a platform aimed at relaxing users. His longstanding experience among London’s tech startups gives him a keen understanding of the ebb and flow of the city’s entrepreneurial fortunes.
Sherry Coutu is a prolific entrepreneur and investor who supports UK’s growing tech economy through her role as Co-Chair at SVC2UK, an organization designed to apply the expertise and lessons of Silicon Valley to the United Kingdom. Her diverse experience includes serving on the boards of Raspberry Pi and Zoopla PLC.
There are few people who understand public-private partnerships better than Eric van der Kleij. He served as a key official in the UK’s Global Entrepreneur Programme, and as CEO of London’s Tech City Investment Organisation. He currently leads Level39, a major European tech accelerator.
Reshma Sohoni is the Co-Founder of Seedcamp, one of Europe’s foremost accelerator programs. The London based firm combines an extensive network of mentors and substantial funding, giving Sohoni a comprehensive view of the startup market in London and beyond. She has previous experience working at Broadview, Vodafone and Softbank.
Niklas Zennstrom is most famous for co-founding Kazaa and Skype, major successes that jumpstarted Northern Europe’s entrepreneurial economy. He currently serves as Founding Partner and CEO at Atomico, a VC firm founded in London in 2006 that has invested in companies including Silk and Rovio.
Until 2014, Joanna Shields was the CEO of Tech City UK, a government initiative to build London’s tech economy. Although she now leads the London Stock Exchange, Shields remains a vocal advocate for the city’s startup potential as Chair. Her previous experience includes time at Google, Bebo and Facebook.
Eileen Burbidge has helped lead tech firms including Sun Microsystems, Skype and Yahoo, as well as tech investment firm Ambient Sound Investments. Her involvement in the London tech scene includes co-founding White Bear Yard, a co-working space, and Passion Capital, an early stage VC firm founded in 2011.
The renowned Silicon Valley VC firm opens its London office, and since 2000 has raised over $2 billion that it has invested in many growth-stage European startups.2000
Index Ventures is currently one of the largest VCs in the United Kingdom. In 2014 alone, it raised $543 million for early-stage startups and was involved with seven exits in just 2014.2002
Considered to be the "Harvard of European incubators", Seedcamp was founded by Saul Klein, an early-stage investor in British startups. Seedcamp boasts over 400 mentors, and is backed by Europe's leading VCs.2007
Betfair, an online betting platform, raises $2.2 billion as it goes public on the London Stock Exchange.2010
Founded by the City of London in collaboration with a group of angel investors, the Innovation Warehouse provides entrepreneurs with a space to work and access to seed funding, angel investing, and mentoring.2010
Designed to give entrepreneurs resources they need, Campus provides its members with mentorship, collaboration, and networking/speaking events.May 2012
With support from the City of London Corporation, Accenture, and VCs the Fintech Innovation Lab aims to give financial tech startups mentorship from institutional executives with world-class expertise.September 2012
In February 2013, Techstars launched its first international program in London after merging with Springboard with accelerators focused on web, mobile and Internet of Things technology. In December of the same year, Techstars started its Barclays Accelerator to nurture fintech startups in London.2013
Google made one of its largest European purchases of a London-based machine-learning and artificial intelligence startup, DeepMind.January 2014
In collaboration with six private funds, the mayor of London launches the London Co-Investment Fund, a $133 million fund for local startups.December 2014