With its time zone, pro-business regulation, education system and access to talent, the UK has emerged as THE place to found and build a business. The UK has seen tech startups like Deliveroo, Crowdcube, ASOS, Mondo, Citymapper and Skyscanner all build their routes on British soil, and grow to become incredible businesses. And it's not just startups; global leading tech firms such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook have all major operations in the UK employing tens of thousands of employees.
London, the capital, is the most notable destination. We hear on a daily basis about “Silicon Roundabout” in the East of London, and the vibrant start up communities of Old Street and Shoreditch. As far as major cities go, London is exceptional, employing 25% of the UK population, but the UK Tech scene is more than just London. Over the last 10 years, tech startups have been popping up across the country and disrupting industries across the globe. With some serious government and private investment, the likes of Edinburgh and Manchester are emerging as hotspots for new tech startups.
Although Birmingham is the second highest populated city after London, Manchester is largely viewed as the UK's second city. Manchester’s economy sits at a massive £46 billion and has recently seen over £1 billion investment in its “Media City”. Some notable tech startups that have emerged from Manchester include Fatsoma, Clowdy and Capsule.
"Forget Silicon Valley or Silicon Roundabout, Birmingham boasts the Silicon Canal, a tech ecosystem with some exciting emerging startups such as BirghtTarget, Click Travel and cloudThing. Innovation is at the core of Birmingham with its Science Park in Aston housing 86 tech companies and there are few cities in the UK that have seen such transformation like Birmingham has in the last decade. More and more startups are being formed every year, a total of 16,000 last year alone, which is really putting Birmingham on the map not just in the UK but in Europe as a great place to found a business."
Winner of Nat West’s entrepreneurial city of the year award in 2016 beating London, Manchester and Cambridge, Edinburgh is quickly becoming a hot spot for technology businesses and has produced 2 unicorns FanDuel and Skyscanner. Compared to London’s 8.67 million population, Edinburgh is comparatively tiny with a population of less than half a million, but it is still a microcosm for entrepreneurs.
Home of one of the world’s most famous universities, the Apple AI lab and the first ever Drone Delivery by Amazon’s “Prime Air”, little old Cambridge is a growing tech ecosystem. Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds recently reported that they had funnelled a £5.3 million of investment into 14 companies and is just one example of a series of venture funding being pumped into local tech startups.
Washed up on the Geordie Shore’s you will find some incredible technology businesses, especially within the software space. Home of Sage PLC HQ, Newcastle is another of the northern cities disrupting technology. Ignite Accelerator and Campus North support young companies within a city that has produced startups such as Palringo, SoPost and Recite Me. Neighbouring city Sunderland also boasts its “Software City” with its own set of emerging startups.
Bristol is a city is most known for its microelectronics and aerospace engineering but is also amongst the UK growing tech cities. Early stage investors such as Eden Ventures have based themselves their as well as tech giants Hewlett Packard. With a high performing university and an entrepreneurial population, Bristol has seen a number of successful startups emerge which include the likes of SecondSync, SETsquared and Brightpearl.
More than just London
With high living costs, London, although still the heart of the UK tech scene, is now no longer the only place to grow and scale a tech company and the likes of Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Newcastle are some of the great examples of this. But it's not just these cities as more and more exciting businesses emerge every month right across the country.
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