Where To Look For The Next Silicon Valley?

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Ever wondered what if world's biggest tech and startup hub was outside USA, maybe somewhere in Europe?

Silicon Valley’s significance as a most important high-tech cluster is considered quite obvious. There are some voices about a shift in direction to a next hub, but it probably will not happen in the nearest future. Well, let’s just assume for a moment that it is possible. Can you imagine that next biggest tech hub, saturated with startup companies and all that jazz, located in Europe? It’s tricky to point Valley’s successor with so many hubs around Europe, but we have our own bet.

The place to be?

Everyone heard about this place. Although it’s called a valley, its natural beauty is far on the list of things that made it world-famous. For many years it has been considered the world capital of technology and innovation. Silicon Valley is not just a concentration of global companies, renowned research facilities and diverse workforce. There is more to it, and some of the locals say that Silicon Valley is not just a place, it’s a state of mind. To this day it attracts many people from all around the world. Especially ambitious entrepreneurs who are seduced by opportunities enabled by relatively easy access to venture capital. According to angel.co, there are almost 5.000 startups in the area that already have found investors and are in an advanced development phase. Imagine how many are still bootstrapping.

Big time

Access to capital is one of distinctive attributes especially for the biggest start-up hub in Europe – London. To this day it is believed that there are at least 2.000 startups, and the scene is constantly growing. Being an established financial center for years, it’s no surprise that there are many opportunities for startups looking for financing. One can economize or get some pocket money from countless incubators and accelerators, but what is much more important, there are many options for big bucks seekers. If you consider cooperating with one of the UK’s venture capitalists, chances are they have their office somewhere around Mayfair or Soho. Scrolling through this list you will find out of how important this city is if it’s about securing finances for your idea development.

Money is not everything

But this feature alone won’t make London the next Valley. What’s more important is talented and educated people coming together with their ideas. Nowadays, R. Florida’s term creative class may sound a little bit overused, but one cannot underestimate the meaning of creativity in terms of entrepreneurship and startups. If you compare both scenes, it just seems obvious that such a big, international metropolis as London, must have a lot of potential in terms of building an inspiring community. It’s a dense environment, perfect for mingling of diversity, where ideas and information spread easily. That couldn’t be achieved without importing talent not from the UK alone but from all around the world, as London is one of the biggest brain drainers. It’s not a bad thing from the perspective of this exact place, especially if you can always be sure that the right person to cooperate is somewhere out there – you just have to find them.

Basics as a good background

Aside from access to venture capital and diverse environment saturated with high potential workforce, London also has other traits of Silicon Valley. You can find many reputable scientific research and education facilities there. Just to name few, London is home to University College (UCL), Imperial College (ICL) and King’s College (KCL). Maybe they aren’t as popular and appreciated as the two most famous universities in the UK, occupied by competing in boat races every year. Perhaps they aren’t considered Stanford’s equivalent when it comes to reputation or its impact on economy. But that is not crucial. The fact is that the academic scene in London is producing many highly educated and motivated people, who may start their own startup journey. Hence to that, the scene is getting even more dense and more competitive, which is good not only for the creation of new ideas, but also natural selection of the best ones. You can see the impact of London’s academic scene in many spin-out companies that were created in recent times.

What’s left?

Concentration of big-name tech companies is also quite impressive, as most of giants based in the Valley have their main office also in London. But our model world hub isn’t just made of big names, right? According to StartupHub.eu, London is also unattainable in fields of global investments and the number of startups in Europe. Its importance as a continental hub for startups is already well established. Maybe it is a result of general magnetism that this place has and which is affecting the whole world, according to last year’s Global Power City Index in which London was on the very top (even if it sounds too posh).

Moving on to more down to earth aspects of world hubs, of course you can complain on high living costs compared to other cities (almost all of them), but you cannot complain about quality of life itself. It’s the same as in the Bay Area, where costs of living are also skyrocketing and make people rethink their choice of living destination. Yet another resemblance.

It’ more complicated

The list of aspects in which Europe’s biggest startup hub is catching up with the Valley is getting longer and longer every year. But it seems like something is missing. Times are changing faster than ever, especially if you look at what has been accomplished in technology or business over last decade. The 21st century has become the time of entrepreneurs and innovation. It seems like Silicon Valley’s dominance is the result of a specific set of mind shared in its community. It depends on forward thinking, focus on the future rather than the present. And it had been cultivated for many years. Its global influence on technology led to its position as the startup place to be, as most of the successful ones are pretty much tech-oriented.

The process of becoming such a place began on fertile ground where innovation was welcome and the past wasn’t defining direction in which people should go. This not the case in London. Its history and accomplishments throughout ages shaped the present city, where a lot of potential in many branches can be found. People who think of becoming really successful there, can do it in many well-established business sectors. Either finance or traditional media, entertainment or banking, health-care or tourism, the list of possibilities goes on and on. A startup career, if such a thing exists, is just another thing that you can do in London. It certainly isn’t common, even if its entrepreneurial community is thriving. Simply being a founder won’t make you anyone special in both places. And still, in one of those you could be considered as a niche, and in the other one you may find yourself in the spotlight. This fact alone shows why the position of the present tech-hub is not really endangered by London.


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