Google Campus boss: London set to win race to be Europe's premier tech hub

Eze Vidra, head of London's Google Campus, says the capital is well placed to be Europe's go-to start-up destination - despite tough competition from Tel Aviv, Berlin and Stockholm.

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 17 Apr 2014

Citing the ‘phenomenal’ growth of the last two years, Vidra told the Evening Standard that the Capital now has ‘all the ingredients’ required to become that long-sought after dream, Europe’s answer to Silicon Valley. He said that the favourable environment for talent and capital, good tax incentives for investors, decent connectivity and language skills all add up to give London a potent hand to play in attracting start-ups.

But he warned that stiff competition exists from other centrs including Tel Aviv in Israel, which has the highest density of VC investment per capita in the world, ‘cheap and sexy’ Berlin - and Stockholm. The capital of Sweden is seen as the gateway to Scandinavia (although as anyone who has visited will attest, it is in no way ‘cheap.’ Things there are even more expensive than in London, so Berlin probably wins on the thrift factor).

A crucial factor in determining the winner will be what Vedra calls ‘density of the network’, which we think refers to those locales where you can’t move for eager start-ups doing their thing and generating value for the future. What started years ago in Clerkenwell and them moved to The Old Street roundabout has now proliferated into Hoxton, Shoreditch, Notting Hill, Croydon and even Wokingham.

The trick, says Vedra will be making sure that all these micro-hubs are sufficiently well joined up that they can behave as one - and also in forging stronger and more effective links with other European centres. 'Silicon Valley has 60 years on us' he said. 'We should crete bridges between all the hubs around Europe'.

Of course he has his own agenda to follow here - the membership of Google’s London Campus has grown to 1300 firms from around 200 a couple if years ago. But all the same he may have a point - and perhaps the rise in crowdfunding could even help address the biggest single difference between London and the Valley, the lack of established, eager and engaged venture capital…

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