Web Summit 2013: London confirmed as one of the startup world's most strategic hotspots

Excite UK had the pleasure to attend the London Web Summit - Startup Contest 2013, one of the most recognized events in the tech industry where big players mix with young talent to gain reciprocal inspiration and develop future businesses.

After battling it out against over 100 applicants, Old Street-based Flubit was crowned the winner of this year’s Startup Contest. And with a discount service that aims to provide popular products at a price up to the 30% cheaper than any other retailer on the market, Flubit feels like a very promising enterprise indeed, especially considering the current economic climate. The startup’s co-founder and CEO Bertie Stephens said in regards to the award: “from the very beginning we had nine people who risked everything and now we have 35 people who are risking a lot, and thanks to the WebSummit we’ve kick started our journey“, which in some ways confirms what we’ve been hearing for a while: London is still one of the most strategic hotspots for startups, and it's only getting better.

There are a number of factors playing in favour of London-based startups at the moment. First of all, due to the banking sector’s current crisis, many finance professionals and graduates are reinventing themselves in the digital world, providing the UK industry with the corporate-minded backbone needed to make it more viable and solid from the investors' point of view. In addition, as pointed out by Eileen Burbidge (Passion Capital) - one of the most influential figures in Britain's digital economy and major player in the startup world - as well as Arnaud Betrand (HouseTrip), not only does London’s peculiar multiculturality make it the ideal place where to recruit talent, but also its international exposure and welcoming government policies are helping build the perfect environment for new digital ventures.

The Government seems very determined to transform London into Europe’s digital capital and it’s been said that at the moment it’s actually doing more for startups than any other country in the world. The announcement in December that the Government will bankroll the regeneration of the Old Street roundabout area to the tune of £50m to create a 'Silicon Roundabout' for the use of both local enterprises and the wider community was a clear example of their committment. In addition, the UK has already started to establish itself as a worthy competitor for the US creating the right bases for the development of a solid long-term digital economy. The newly created Google Campus in East London for instance has played a key role in making the capital more accessible to US investors, and the fact that some London’s universities are now appearing at the top of the “Higher Education World Universities ranking 2012/13” list it’s a proof of the current abundance of academic talent.

Joanna Shields, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the UK’s Tech City Investment Organization, as well as the UK’s Business Ambassador for Digital Industries, declared: “I believe there is a movement underway in this country. What is happening in East London around the Old Street Roundabout is proof of that and we have to shape it and ensure it continues. That movement now extends from the Olympic Park to King’s Cross and it’s spreading all across London and the nation, for that matter, with dozens of clusters springing up that reflect the strengths of local economies. Entrepreneurs in all parts of the country are using technology to transform our economy and boost new growth.”

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