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Danny Lopez

British Consul-General, New York

Part of Digital Diplomacy

29th May 2012 New York, USA

Tech winds are blowing east

The frenzy surrounding Facebook’s IPO shows the firm grip the thriving tech scene has on public consciousness. The IPO disappointed investors and Facebook is a few billion off its May 18 valuation. Let’s not forget however, that this is an eight-year-old company that is closing in on 1 billion users and employs a staff of 3,700.

Pinterest, the social scrapbooking site, launched just over a year ago, managed to raise $100 million and has a $1.5 billion valuation. Tech tadpoles can become tech titans at astoundingly fast rates, and a wildly successful start-up can evolve into a major employer and revenue-generator.

Today’s start-ups are finding their legs in more eastern places than California’s Silicon Valley. According to an article
in The Wall Street Journal on 10 May, the US’ fastest-growing hub for internet and mobile tech is New York City – Silicon Valley meets Silicon Alley. And on the other side of the Atlantic, London’s Tech City is home to the largest concentration of fast-growing digital technology companies in Europe.

Nestled within the East London blocks adjacent to the new 2012 Olympic stadium, companies like Tweetdeck, the highly-popular social media browser, and Songkick, the largest global database of concerts in the world, call Tech City home. And with active support from major global technology companies like Cisco, Intel and Google, East London has cemented its reputation as a globally-renowned technology hub.

London’s Tech City has opportunities for companies of every shape and size, from budding entrepreneurs in technology incubators around the East End areas of Old Street and Shoreditch to major facilities in the Olympics Park available post-2012. For start-ups, Tech City offers access to the largest venture capital scene in Europe and the presence of like-minded innovators.

In fact, London has the highest concentration of creative firms in any city or region in the world. It’s no wonder that London is home to an established and growing community of networking groups including TechHub, Developer’s Garage, Hoxton Mixer and TechMeetUp. Tech City is also the prime location in Europe to make contacts for every step of the venture, including promotion – two thirds of international advertising agencies have designated London as their European headquarters.

Technology as the new frontier isn’t a new idea, but in the past decade, we’ve seen tech permeate nearly every aspect of our professional and personal lives at an unprecedented rate. The number of people who reach for their BlackBerrys, iPhones, and Droids before their feet hit the floor in the morning has skyrocketed, and the demand for innovative technology is only growing.

If you’re wondering which direction you should look for the next big thing in tech, the smart money says look east (London).

1 comment on “Tech winds are blowing east

  1. Danny,

    Truely fascinating information indeed. However if I may make a few remarks:

    You implore your readers that if they wonder which direction they should look for the next big thing in tech, “the smart money says look east (London).”

    Absolutely. However, this is not to say that people should stop looking west (US and Canada) and far westt (Japan, China, and India) whilst survaying London, correct? As the New York Times’ columnist Thomas Freedman explains in his best-selling book of the same title, in the 21st century, the world is flat. No one has a monopoly on creativity (if any nation ever really did.)

    Your statement that “London has the highest concentration of creative firms in any city or region in the world” gave me great pause for thought. I’m curious, as is often the case with similar such statements by other embassy employees in their blog entries, there was no sourse citation to endorse this claim. I wonder, how do you know this? Was it recently found in a UN study? British government report? I would love to learn about the context clues, if you will, surrounding it.

    I thank you for allowing your readers the opportunity to comment on your entries.

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About Danny Lopez

Danny was appointed British Consul-General, New York in July 2011 and has responsibility for promoting the UK’s economic profile, foreign policy and national security priorities in New York, New Jersey,…

Danny was appointed British Consul-General, New York in July 2011 and has responsibility for promoting the UK’s economic profile, foreign policy and national security priorities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut’s Fairfield County. He is on the Board of UK Trade & Investment, the foreign commercial arm of the UK Government, and leads its operations across the USA. Prior to joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Consul-General Lopez enjoyed a varied career in the UK’s public and private sectors. From 2009 to 2011, he worked for the London Development Agency, the Mayor of London’s economic development arm, as Group Director for Business Support and Promotion. During this time, he was responsible for creating London & Partners, the UK capital’s promotional agency for business, visitors and students and was its inaugural CEO. From 2006 to 2009, he was Managing Director, Marketing & Communications at UK Trade & Investment, where he was responsible for delivering a new marketing strategy to promote and showcase the UK economy internationally. Previously, he worked at Barclays Bank for ten years, where he held a number of senior international positions, including Director of Business Banking USA in New York, Head of Inward Investment in London and Business Development Director in India. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics and a Masters in International Economics and Finance from the University of Essex. He is recently engaged to his Australian fiancee Susan and is a big fan of running, tennis, football (soccer) and Formula 1.

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