By Daniel Hunter
Today (Friday) will see hundreds of technology companies, ranging from start-ups to the established, join with investors and media for the 2013 London Web Summit.
Tim Kay of KPMG’s Early Stage Technology Group based in London’s Tech City, looks at what the event says about the state of the European technology sector.
“If the scale of the Web Summit is a measure of the vibrancy and prospects of the European early stage technology sector then we can look forward to a healthy pipeline of successful companies. The quality of the finalists in the start-up competition at the Summit shows that companies are being created that are well placed to have a role on the global stage while the likes of Spotify, Huddle and Songkick are already there and showing that it can be done.
“It should also be a reminder of the strength of the UK sector; we are fortunate that the UK has a number of clusters that are, or have the potential to be, world leaders in their field. London, Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh and Brighton, all have a cluster of companies, advisors and investors that are looking to create a critical mass for success and it is great to see that ‘UK plc’ is doing its best to support them.
"We have a great range of incentives surrounding R&D and patents, investors are well looked after with Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) allowances, talent can come to the UK with the Entrepreneurs Visa and our geographic location allows high growth companies to access both the traditional markets of the US and the new growth areas such as China.
“Larger corporates in all sectors are also now more often (and willing) to look to these early stage companies as alternatives to the traditional IT companies for services and innovation — providing them with a valuable market to help grow the business. With the recent announcement by the London Stock Exchange of the intention to have a High Growth Segment, companies now have a clear path for growth and expansion."
However, Tim Kay warns that there is more to be done, although much of it is simple, he explains :
“Of course we need to ensure a stream of quality engineering talent that is matched by entrepreneurs willing (and able) to take risks and fail. We need to continue to educate the wider community on the value of the companies being developed. However, we also need to be sure that we do the simple things exceptionally well. We need to sell the benefits of being a technology company based in the UK, our successes in industries from social media to semiconductors, and our leading role in the emerging technologies such as graphene.”
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