London not Palo Alto

February 12, 2014 Stephen Piron

I had the good fortune of spending an all too short time living in the Silicon Valley. And while there are days I miss the warm and happy Californian sun, when it came time to startup I chose not Palo Alto but London, a city on a grey and rainy island in the North Atlantic. To many, this will seem bonkers. But here are a few reasons why C100 entrepreneurs should consider London when building their next world-beating company.

London Is the Centre of the World

Apart from being technically true, London is the centre of the world because it’s the most global city. The world comes to London to do business. What distinguishes London from New York or Tokyo or other cities that rank highly on lists of the ‘World’s Most Important Cities’ is that Londoners look outward to the world. It’s very common to do business with Asia in the morning, Africa in the afternoon and North America in the evening.  Remember, London is a port town on a small island, and for thousand of years Londoners have had to trade with the rest of the world for survival. So if you want to go global, you need to come here.

London = Finance

London is the financial capital of the world. More money flows in and out of here than anywhere else.  A curious thing happened during the financial meltdown, the best technologists from Investment Banks and Hedge Funds left their jobs to start small companies. These companies are focused fixing the broken system that is international finance. What exists now is a large cluster of hungry companies about half a mile from the financial core. Geography is key! It means that Geeks and Bankers occupy the same space, drink in the same pubs, and debate the same issues. It also means any financial technology company worth its salt should be here.

London is The Global Talent Magnet

 Where immigration policy in the US has tightened, much to the frustration of many Silicon Valley executives, the flow of labour in the UK is relatively open. The result is that London has now become the place where the ambitious and talented come. And so here you’ll find yourself testing your chops not just against those who went to Oxford and Cambridge but the best and brightest from all corners of the globe. In fact Britons are the minority in the startups of London! Founders and teams are truly international. They’re Irish, South African, Nigerian, Korean, Brazilian and (sometimes) Canadian.

C100UK is in Your Corner

If you’re considering London, know that the C100UK is here for you.  We’re not as big as our sister organization in the Valley, but we’re militant about helping Canadians who want to come to London and change the world!

Don’t forget, mate: We’ve got your back!


Stephen Piron, C100UK member, is the founder of Bright*Sun, a firm that builds algorithms to source deals for Venture Capital and Private Equity firms. It is the Wired Magazine Startup of the Week. It has recently had a seed round from the team of angels who first seeded Supercell. One of the investors was fellow C100UK member Paul Heydon.

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