Thursday, September 24, 2009

Europe to get a London TechHub for startups to meet and work in

Europe to get a London TechHub for startups to meet and work in: "Europe to get a London TechHub for startups to meet and work in.

by Mike Butcher on September 24, 2009

Europe has no real equivalent to the big hothouse that is Silicon Valley, but it does have lots of tech clusters and networks. As recent research from the startup Seedcamp startup programme has shown, clusters of innovation are spread far and wide across Europe.

Helge:  Good point, we're more distributed.

One place everyone agrees is a key cluster is London. It now hosts offices belonging to all the top-tier pan-European VCs, several new Seed funds, has a very active Angel investor market and hosts many major tech events.

Helge:  London sounds like an easy landing strip for US business people.

However, largely because of its cost – everything is still expensive here – London remains hard for European startups to access and get into, even in a recession. It’s incredibly cheap to rent an office in Berlin, for instance. In London it can be double the price. And although European and US entrepreneurs often need to take meetings and work in London, they don’t always need permanent office space, which can be extremely restrictive to startups. Who wants to sign a huge lease before you’ve raised any funding? The preference is for working out of anonymous clubs, cafes, and perhaps sub-letting a single desk here or there.

Helge:  Meeting at the hotel. The same goes for Moscow. 

To some extent events and conferences are great for networking. But when you can actually rock up to a space and see people in your community — well, it’s unbeatable. That’s what the vibe is in the Valley, where you can literally walk into potential partners, investors and co-founders. That’s what’s lacking here in London, a key, lynch-pin city on the European scene.

Helge:  Short term meetings and real collaboration. Walking into your next networking partner isn't easy in a periphery location like Finland. That's why digital networking in Qaiku seems so natural.

So there’s clearly a problem that needs to be addressed if the startup eco system is to develop in Europe.

Helge:  Should there be a high-tech ghetto?

TechHub (@TechHub on Twitter) is new project put together by Elizabeth Varley which will address just this issue. Elizabeth has been involved in the London scene for a number of years, organised London Twestival and has recently been developing the concept of a physical space aimed specifically at the tech community and particularly at startups."

Helge:  London Twestifal...hmmm.

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