By Gabrielle Montoute
When you think of startups, Silicon Valley is probably the first place that comes to mind, but in the last few years, the London startup and tech community has exploded. From international companies establishing new headquarters, to London app developers, London is the new hot location to find work at a startup.
With London’s burgeoning tech scene, it’s an exciting time to get in on the ground floor. London now has the most business headquarters in all of Europe and in 2014, the city’s tech ecosystem increased in size by over 5%. A fast-growing startup environment can seem overwhelming, but with a smaller and younger startup scene than the oversaturated Silicon Valley, what it really means is countless opportunities to find the company that’s the right fit.
The cleverly named “Silicon Roundabout” in East London is the epicenter of London startups, and international companies and investors are chomping at the bit for a taste of the city’s new startups. London Mayor Boris Johnson and six private investors pledged $85 million to the London Co-Investment Fund, which invests in tech, digital, and science startups every week for three years. Startups can also get help from incubators like Google Campus and Tech Hub, which offer (often free) workshops and access to angel investors.
High Demand, Low Supply
A relatively new startup community means London startups are scrambling for new employees. Other tech nerve centers like Silicon Valley are savagely and frustratingly competitive, but in London, the competition is not as steep. In 2013 and 2014, business management consulting firm London & Partners helped 260 international companies set up offices in London. Of those, 90% were tech firms that are predicted to collectively create 9,141 new jobs over a three-year period.
Perhaps as a direct response to the vast amount of jobs created by new tech startups, the London startup boom has resulted in dramatically higher salaries. The median salary for a position at a London startup is ￡40,000 per year, while in France and Germany, the average is almost half that.
Along with working in one of the most diverse and interesting cities in the world, working for a London startup can mean some pretty great perks. Companies offer everything from free yoga classes, to Uber credits. TransferWise, a peer-to-peer money transfer service, even offers all-expense paid company vacations.
As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, London has already established itself as a unique and exciting place to live, but in recent years, it has blossomed into the next big city for startups. Whether you’re searching for a brand new company starting off in an incubator, or a well-established startup with lots of bargaining power, London is the place to look.