UK tech entrepreneurs often look to Facebook, Apple and Google for inspiration but they may soon find it closer to home. While San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is still considered the global epicentre of innovation, new research considers London to be the second most likely city in the world to produce the next tech giant.
The product of 1,469 phone interviews with international decision-makers, EY’s latest survey revealed that 23% of executives believed the next major tech player will emerge from the British capital, whilst 29% are banking on San Francisco. The two frontrunners were closely followed by Shanghai, New York, Beijing and Berlin, which were backed by 21%, 16%, 14% and 10% of execs respectively.
Speaking with Elite Business, Caroline Artis, London market segment leader at EY, said: “[London’s ranking is due to] a variety of things, such as access to capital markets, a vibrant culture […], a highly educated and diverse workforce, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a taxation system in the UK which supports innovation.”
Yet she warned there’s no room for complacency: the city’s position is far from secure. “London will need to continue investing in infrastructure, such as housing and airports, and will also need to focus on digital connectivity to make sure that it stays ahead of the other competing [cities],” commented Artis.
And tempering the goods news somewhat, the survey also noted that the likelihood of foreign companies investing in the UK in the next year has dropped from 27% in 2015 to 23% in 2016. The main reason seemed to be the upcoming EU referendum, with 50% of investors believing that the UK’s attractiveness would be negatively affected if the country’s access to the European single market was restricted.
“Global businesses are carefully considering their investments around the world and possibly lengthening the time over which such decisions are made but fundamentally the attractiveness of London remains unaltered,” noted Artis.
Whatever the outcome of the referendum, we’re confident there are plenty of UK startups that have what it takes to transform into tech giants.