There are several key components in a successful tech hub. Drawn from the success of Silicon Valley these factors are often mapped as:
- access to angel and venture capital
- access to talent
- density of academic research (Stanford, Berekley, CalTech etc.)
- attitude for innovation
- mentorship of senior successful entrepreneurs
Whilst living in London, I’ve often asked myself which of these factors we satisfy in our startup community. Certainly, over the last few years we’ve begun to tick almost all of these boxes.
There is one key area that is often missing from the above list, and it is one of the components were I feel London is perhaps weak. It is the attitude to try new things; the prevalence of early adopters. Just as it is important to have people who are willing to create new things, it is equally important on the other side to have people who are willing to try and use new things. These are the people who are willing to forgive early product failures and give the feedback a startup needs to iterate and improve.
Whilst purely qualitative, I’ve always found the in London we generally aren’t that open to new products. If we are paying for something, we usually want a brand name or a good review. This can be hard for a startup who is launching something from scratch.
How do you overcome this? By creating an idea that has immediate value to a small subset of people. In many respects then, it is not different to creating an idea in The Valley, perhaps it just takes slightly longer to get the ball rolling.