Eric Schmidt

The UK is a world leader in the e-commerce space, Google boss Eric Schmidt has said.

Mr Schmidt, who is now executive chairman of Google's parent company Alphabet, told the BBC that he says no reason why the next hundred billion pound e-commerce or tech startup could not come from the UK.

However, he believes British entrepreneurs tend to sell their businesses much earlier than their US counterparts. This is something that can "easily be learned in Britain", he said though.

"If you have a strong franchise that's growing quickly, you're probably better off waiting a while," Mr Schmidt explained.

In fact, he told the BBC that the UK is "far ahead" of the US in the e-commerce market.

He said: "Britain has every aspect to build billion pound, ten billion pound, hundred billion pound companies.

"You have the right regulatory environment. You've got the right role within [the European] continent. [Just] look at the e-commerce plays and service plays that are now happening in London.

"Europe is pushing on a European digital single market and in the timeframe of you building a small start-up, the Europeans will figure out a way of building a single digital market for your products."


Speaking about what it takes to launch a successful startup that has the potential to be worth £100 billion, Eric Schmidt said product quality was "key". He actually said it is "the only thing that matters".

It's also getting easier for startups to provide a genuine challenge to some of the established names already out there. Thanks to social media, Mr Schmidt says, "lean distribution models are replacing big marketing and advertising budgets".

"If you have three people and a vision, you should be able to raise funds from friends and family, crowd-funding and early venture groups," he said.