By Daniel Hunter
The world renowned start-up accelerator TechStars is to launch a programme in London, its first outside the US, the entrepreneurs behind the venture fund announced today (Wednesday).
In a meeting at No 10, TechStars CEO David Cohen and General Partner Mark Solon confirmed TechStars are expanding their network outside of the US by merging with Springboard, co-founded by Jon Bradford, to launch in London the globally renowned TechStars mentorship-driven investment programme.
Launching in March, TechStars London is expected to support up to 20 start-ups annually across the UK, Europe and further afield through an investment of €85,000, being €15,000 of seed funding and an optional €70,000 convertible debt note for each company.
TechStars already have a strong track record working with European teams, with their alumni including Memrise (UK), GrabCAD (Estonian) and docTrackr (France) who have cumulatively raised €16m of investment funds.
The move comes just two years after Tech City Investment Organisation was set up by the Coalition Government to help attract inward investment and make London the digital capital of Europe. It also highlights the continued benefits of the introduction of policies designed to make the UK the first choice for entrepreneurs and investors, including tax relief for the creative sector and Entrepreneur Visas.
David Cohen, CEO and founder of TechStars, said: “We’ve had our eye on the burgeoning London tech scene for some time, well aware the US doesn’t have a monopoly on either tech skills or entrepreneurship. The current business climate here means we can work with an incredibly broad spectrum of British and international teams and top talent. Merging with Springboard will allow TechStars to deliver great results both for start-ups and investors.”
Jon Bradford, CEO and co-founder of Springboard, said: “Coming together with TechStars makes perfect sense. Springboard and TechStars have long had a natural affinity, not least because of our shared mentor-led approach. Bringing their expertise to London can only be good news for tech start-ups in the UK, Europe and beyond.”
Ed Cooke, CEO and co-founder of Memrise, said: “I'm thrilled at the launch of TechStars London. Not a week goes by when the exceptional TechStars mentor and alumni network does not materially aid us. This network, its generosity and sense of community, is a wonderful addition to London's already dynamic start-up scene, and stands to benefit every entrepreneur and investor.”
Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City Investment Organisation and UK Business Ambassador said: “Today’s announcement shows Tech City is fulfilling its potential as one of the world’s great technology centres. With such an ambitious package of policies, incentives and visa support, the UK is amongst the best places in the world to start and grow a business. Together with global accelerators like TechStars, we really are paving the way for high growth British businesses to succeed and have a real impact on the global stage.”
The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey MP, said: "I am very pleased that TechStars has chosen to establish in London. We are putting in place the policies to help companies grow and help them get access to the finance they need. TechStars is an important addition to the sources of funding for companies.
"The UK's technology sector is full of creative, skilled, people setting up, and working in companies that can grow quickly and be the equal of any other in the world."
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