London is the famous for its royals, and it si the King of Startups in Europe.

Much has been said - all of it true and well-deserved - for Berlin, Stockholm, and Tel Aviv. I have personally written articles extolling Stockholm as the next great startup hub and praising the White City's startup scene.

Yet, true though all of that may well be, and scary though Brexit at first appears, London has been, and will remain, the capital of European startup technology for clear and powerful reasons that were eminently noticeable on my recent trip to Queen Elizabeth's crown jewel.

London is Europe's Financial Capital

Much as New York's status as the world's financial capital drives much of its startup growth, London can draw from a vastly greater capital reserve than any other European city - and it's not even close. London is the world's second largest financial capital - after New York - and the clear dominant presence for business in the EMEA region. Unlike other commentators, I don't expect this to change drastically even if Brexit actually goes through: financial leaders tend to find a workaround when they need it! Startups draw on that in several key ways: for seed capital from wealthy members of the financial community, for growth capital from London's financial firms that have opened up earlier-stage practices, and for talent from the very deep pool of ex-financial professionals who can expertly fill both financial and engineering roles depending on their specialty. London's financial hub "The City" is quite literally its startup hub, with early-stage companies' presence bleeding into the surrounding neighborhoods of Whitechapel, Bishopsgate, Shoreditch, and Soho.

Significant New Tax Benefits for Startup Investment

The UK has passed laws guaranteeing extremely significant financial incentives to private investors who back early-stage companies. These new incentives are more generous even than US Federal Tax law, and rival certain US state programs that have proven very effective in driving startup and innovation investment, such as the Maryland Biotechnology Tax Credit.

Logistics: The Easiest European Crossroads to the US East Coast

Without delays (and don't count on it if you're going to Heathrow), New York-London is a six-hour flight. The importance of this is difficult to overstate: six hours with just five hours-time difference to the East Coast is a major value-add over the rest of Europe, let alone Israel. London startups can more easily run international teams with the States and secure investment from New York, which is starting to view investment in London companies almost the same way as it views investment in Boston or mid-Atlantic firms from a logistical perspective.

So rock on London. Berlin stays up later, Tel Aviv is beachy, and Stockholm has Spotify, but you're still Europe's true royal.

 

 

Published on: Jul 5, 2016