London’s Tech Scene

London is one of the most booming places to set-up a new venture, especially if you’re planning to expand in other countries.  But moving to the largest corporate city of Europe is not an easy feat for everybody, and integration in a new socio-economic environment brings a lot of startups on the brink of dissolution. London is expensive, very exclusivistic and it’s easy enough to start feeling like a foreigner even if you’re living there for a medium period of time, let alone if you’re a newcomer.
Co-working spaces

Luckily, the co-working phenomenon can help entrepreneurs transition to a more inclusive environment, helping them understand the tips and tricks around being a Londoner. First of all, because it may aid you in giving the required financial security by eliminating the need to rent a traditional office space at alarmingly high prices. When talking London, you have to take into consideration that the average costs of life will be significant – long-term stay could lead you to spend just short of $ 3,000 per month, so that does not leave a lot of room to be a hefty spender.

Renting a co-working space in London could amount to around USD 300 per month for unlimited time spent, which is pretty decent considering other costs in the city. There are a lot of small space-rent opportunities – and by “a lot” we mean more than 1,200 places according to recent tally by GumTree. This big variety of places where people can engage in entrepreneurial endeavors and mingle with like-minded individuals – meaning there’s a lot of space for startups growing fast and large.

The best of the best in European startups

If you’re planning to head on to London to pursue your startup dreams, you’ll be in good company – lately, some major startups have taken the spotlight in the UK capital, and their stories should inspire you:

  • TransferWise – what once started as a small Estonian entrepreneurial quest has turned into a powerhouse of money flowing abroad at lower rates than market guaranteed up to then. TransferWise is currently transferring more than GBP 500 million a month at the moment.
  • RolePoint – the early-stage recruiting software left employers aghast last year when it estimated that, thanks to its employee social network referral system, it saved companies on average $ 250,000 in recruiting costs.
  • Deliveroo – the food delivery startup that has received a Series B funding of over GBP 16 million.
  • Laundrapp – washing, ironing and delivering fresh clothes seems to be on the rise, as three entrepreneurs decided when founding Laundrapp, with the support of GBP 1,5 million in seed funding.
  • Funding Circle – this startup actually has outgrown its category, having raised so far more than USD 120 million in funding to expand the reach of its global marketplace for small business lending.

Big opportunities…

At the moment, thanks to the competition spurred by London’s historical financial district, the fintech scene is heating up day by day, rising on a wave that saw investment in financial startups rise 215% since 2013, up to $ 148 billion. This made US investors to become extremely interested in investing in UK-based startups without forcing them to relocate to the States. This indirectly means that London and UK in general have grown enough so as to be resourceful enough to entice imagination and open investor pockets deeper than before.

…and big uncertainties

London is as resourceful as is problematic, especially in terms of political turmoil and its impact over the future of technology and, subsequently, startups. Competition for the title of the European Silicon Valley is highly disputed with Berlin or Amsterdam, and London may start to trail if its decisional forces continue to envisage a potential British exit from the EU. The European continent can work as a big  turning wheel, counterbalancing the force of US only if it sticks together – it may be that the UK thinks differently, and any socio-economical change would invariably affect the entrepreneurs and investors operating in the country’s capital.

By Elton Kuah


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