By Maximilian Clarke

A group of innovative digital media and gaming companies from Austin, Texas are embarking on a two-day showcase of London’s Tech City; one of the fastest growing tech clusters in the world and the largest in Europe.

The delegation will be headed by The City of Austin, Texas, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) and the British Consulate-General in Houston, in order to fuel two- way investment and further help nurture the UK’s creative industries.

Representatives from nine Austin-based companies, including Appconomy, the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), Phunware, Portalarium, Replay Games, Ricochet Labs, Small World Labs, Spredfast, and Third Cousins Media will participate in the visit.

“Austin attracts talent and innovation; as a result we are on the cutting edge of digital trends that could spread worldwide. The visit will allow some of Austin’s entrepreneurs to experience London’s Tech City, Austin’s digital media and gaming counterpart, first-hand,” said Mayor Leffingwell. “We look forward to working with and further improving trade and economic relations with the UK.”

The group will participate in a two-day programme that will introduce them to Tech City and their UK digital media and gaming counterparts, as well as attend workshops about setting up operations in London and hear from some US-based companies that have successfully entered the UK market.

“We are proud to be representing the best of Austin’s start-up scene to our London counterparts,” said Andy Jones, Business Development Director at Small World Labs. “This will be a great opportunity not only to showcase what we’re doing and explore potential new business opportunities here in the UK, but to learn and take some ideas back with us to Austin.”

The visit is timed to coincide with a pre-South By Southwest Interactive briefing for 40 UK-based companies that will be attending the conference through the UKTI. Both Mayor Leffingwell and the digital media companies taking part in the mission will have an opportunity to meet and address these potential partners.

A friendship agreement between the London Borough of Hackney and the City of Austin will also be signed. The friendship agreement seeks to intensify co-operation between the City and Borough in the high-tech sector; London’s Olympic legacy and event industry and Austin’s forthcoming Formula One race; sustainability; and between the growing Digital Shoreditch festival and South by Southwest.

Commenting on the mission, Eric van der Kleij, CEO of TCIO, said: “Hosting such a talented group of entrepreneurs to Tech City is a great chance for us to showcase London, but to also look for growth opportunities. Austin has really established itself as a hub of innovation and this mission will lay the foundation for increased collaboration and partnership between our thriving technology communities.”

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