Welcome to London!
Moderated by Ben Metcalfe, Co-host, LeWeb’13 London Co-Founder, WP Engine
Brent Hoberman, Co-Founder, PROfounders Capital, Chairman, made.com & Founder & Chairman, mydeco.com
Eric Van der Kleij, Head of Level39
Eze Vidra, Head of Campus, Google
BM: what changes have been happening in London?
BH: there are more startups. There are more investors. We have more US funds investing here. It’s claimed it is the most regulatory friendly environment. It leads the rhetoric! With politicians calling for people to come and start here. The talent pool is great, the buzz is better, but challenges on the route to IPO.
EV: the density of network has increased. Not until recently has it grown enough. It is becoming more normative to become an entrepreneur.
BM: how are you fostering entrepreneurs?
EK: yes, the density increasing. At Level 39, they are specialising in Financial, retail and smartcity tech. That’s what we are focusing on. London does that well, has areas that are specialising.
BH: the corporates are seeing the digital change and looking at how to get into it. One of the best ways is to work with start-ups and develop new things. We connect big corporates with the startups to bring them together. Provide a conduit.
BM: in SF, it seems to be anti-corporate. So this is different. Why would a start-up want to be involved in a corporate.
BH: for credibility, for scale. Advises startups to look for things that give them credibility. If you are in retail tech and get in with Tesco, that opens the door for everyone else.
EV: Campus is a not-for-profit option, we support all sort. Campus is a little experiment. It’s an ecosystem, it’s a support foundation. Google will benefit form a healthy system of startups and so will the city. This is an investment. We have resources and talent committed. We provide mentors. We bring thought leaders to inspire and educate startups.
BM: in an ecosystem for startups, how do you fuel the system, add investment. Felt that there are lots of money, but are they really investing.
EK: it is improving, wasn’t great previously. We are moving the needle in London, we are lucky that we have access to talent, to the whole of EU who can come here to start their businesses without visa issues. On investments, we have seen a higher number of US. True Ventures have done 5 deals in the UK. We have also improved the policy environment to encourage investment. That has unlocked a little more opportunity. We need to encourage smarter investments so Angels do not make mistakes.
EV: we’re also one of the world leaders in equity crowdsourcing. Completely legal to invest down to £10. It’s easy to start something. There are lots of company creation happenings,
EK: we should also try and take a look at the corporates. US acquire for strategic purposes, in the EU, it’s often for revenue. So how can we encourage corporates to strategically acquire, for talent, for growth, for investment, for new ideas.
BH: tech companies are good at this – the others need to take a look at what they are doing?
BM: so what next?
EV: more ambition, more aspirations. More giving back to the community, those who are making a success
EK: continue to sustain relationship with EU. So investors see us as a big market. To be seen as a single, addressable markets. So better collaboration
BH: I would echo the EU point. It needs a renegotiation of a single EU digital market. Also, change the attitudes to success and failure.