London has always been an area of innovation, growth and adaptation. But over the past eight years it has developed into one of the largest tech startup cities in Europe. London’s “Tech City”, located in East London, is just one of the large hubs of technology. As of 2012, there were over 300 startups and large tech brands located in the area. In addition, the UK currently has the largest digital economy in the G20, which is greater than China, Germany, and even the United States (home of Silicon Valley).
It’s clear that London has been right at the forefront of this digital change. But how did this come to be and why are so many employees and companies flocking to London?
London offers plenty of entertainment options (music, museums, and festivals), and is home to a world-renowned fashion and art scene. The city has also become a center for a behavioral economics movement, which has close connections with the city’s technology scene. Culture is a huge factor in which cities thrive with business, so it makes sense that more and more companies are moving their offices to London.
Prime Minister David Cameron and London and Partners have both recognized the intensity of competition in the tech sector. They understood that becoming one of the world’s leading digital economies wouldn’t just happen -- it needed government to make Britain the most attractive place to start up or invest. With the UK’s progressive regulatory environment and incentives like the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, capital gains and R&D tax credits, it’s easy to see why it’s becoming a great option to launch a start-up.
The largest coworking space currently in London is TechHub, which enables startups to have a central office at a fraction of the cost of having their own space. Another popular coworking space is WeWork, currently with four locations in London. Coworking spaces are a great area for innovation and collaboration. London is also home to various accelerator programs, business incubators, and investors.
The so-called “GAFA” companies — Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon — have a target of hiring the best in London talent. Amazon is relocating its corporate staff from Slough to London by summer, making it a sure-fire way of attracting new recruits. Google currently employs 2,000 staff in London, where it has one of its largest engineering teams outside the US. Intel, Cisco and McKinsey & Company are three additional examples of companies who have invested in tech companies in the East End hub of London.