London makes new push to rival Silicon Valley

Mar 13, 2014
London Mayor, Boris Johnson addresses the delegates at the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in central London on November 4, 2013

Maybe this time Silicon Valley will have to move over—London made a fresh bid Thursday to become a world centre for high-tech and start-ups.

Mayor Boris Johnson said he wanted to make London the " capital of the world".

The high-tech sector in the British capital has grown out of the trendy east London district of Shoreditch and now stretches out to the Olympic Park several miles away.

"There is nowhere to rival London for tech firms to thrive and grow—we have the talent, the investors, and the entrepreneurial spirit," Johnson said.

The prevalence of start-ups around Old Street roundabout has seen it dubbed Silicon Roundabout, but while the area is far from the gleaming offices of California's Silicon Valley, the British government is pushing the sector hard.

The Tech City body, which has been helping companies set up in London since 2010, says there are now 1,300 compared with 200 when it was created, and they employ more than 155,000 people.

Johnson said the Olympic Park, the site of the 2012 Games which is now re-opening in a reconfigured form, was "ripe both for new start-ups and more established operations".

Tech City says one sign of the attractiveness of the British capital for the high-tech sector is the 75-percent growth in the number of foreign companies investing there.

Not everyone is happy—some of the original start-ups in Shoreditch claim they have been priced out by rapidly rising rents as the tech giants move in.

But key players in the sector who gathered with Johnson at the TechHub—a centre where other entrepreneurs can come for advice—said London was a highly attractive destination with huge potential.

Michael Acton Smith, the CEO of Mind Candy, the makers of the global hit Moshi Monsters, said: "Confidence in London is rising, start-ups are flourishing, you can feel the crackle of energy and potential in the air."

Social networking giant Facebook is expanding fast in London because it is such a "rich source of engineering and technology talent", said Nicola Mendelsohn, the company's vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Explore further: Dailymotion should stay in European hands, France says

Related Stories

UK wants Olympic site to rival Silicon Valley

Nov 04, 2010

(AP) -- Britain's prime minister wants London's Olympic Park to rival California's Silicon Valley as a place where world leading technology companies can do business, and on Thursday outlined ambitious plans to lure investors ...

London launches hi-tech trial for pedestrian safety

Mar 11, 2014

( —London is trying out intelligent pedestrian technology to make crossing the road easier and safer. Announced earlier this month, the technology is said to be the first scheme of its kind in ...

Israeli hi-tech surfing wave of buyer interest

Dec 02, 2013

Israeli hi-tech has become the target of a buying frenzy, with startups sparking investment bids and a flurry of mergers and acquisitions unseen since the dotcom bubble burst in 2000.

Australia poised for start-up boom, Google study finds

Apr 23, 2013

Tech start-ups could be worth Aus$109 billion (US$111 billion) to the Australian economy by 2033—on a par with retail or education—and create half a million jobs, a report for Google found Tuesday.

Recommended for you

GoDaddy races higher in Wall Street debut

2 hours ago

GoDaddy shares surged in their Wall Street debut Wednesday, as the market welcomed the company that tries to make Internet domain management and website hosting sexy.

Dailymotion should stay in European hands, France says

7 hours ago

France opposes exclusive talks between Orange and Hong Kong's PCCW group for a 49 percent stake in Dailymotion, preferring a European partner for the French video-sharing platform, the finance ministry indicated ...

FTC's Google investigation probed by Senate antitrust chief

22 hours ago

The chairman of a U.S. Senate antitrust panel will look into the release of a confidential Federal Trade Commission report on an investigation of Google Inc.'s search business, which was closed in 2013 without an enforcement ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 14, 2014
Bizarre--why should any start up locate where property and rent prices are going through the roof like no where else on the planet--except perhaps to be near billionaire investors.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.