• Lord Stephen Carter
  • Russ Shaw
  • Cindy Rose
  • Nicola Mendelsohn
CEO, Informa

To what would you attribute London’s rise as a global tech hub?

It’s the blend of different influences that has made London a global tech player. Take the effect of open markets and free trade, together with time zone and language – these have undeniably benefited many industries. For tech, not uniquely but in particular, talent has been key to making London a hub: the people who come to and through the city, their contributions and skills, and what they create and attract.

How is our capital unique in offering an environment for growth and innovation?

Today, you have a physical environment where there’s a competitive and effective technology and communications infrastructure. There is financial capital for ideas, investment and growth, and all the business foundations that exist around it. And strong creative industries that have long existed and interact particularly closely with tech.

Where do you see opportunities for future growth within London’s tech sector?

There are opportunities throughout the sector – in applications, data analytics, service innovation and more. What’s particularly exciting about London Tech Week is the number of other industries and markets getting in on the act, and getting involved in the exchange and discussion over how tech growth and innovation applies to their own areas.

How will the EU Referendum effect London’s status among the international tech community?

If we are smart, we’ll arrive at a place where London is even hungrier and more open to a skills based economy.

What are you looking forward to most this London Tech Week?

A true festival atmosphere over the course of the week. Combining people with a shared passion and interest, with ideas and inspiration, with business, with information and education, and with opportunities for fun, you create something potentially very exciting for London.

Founder, Tech London Advocates

To what would you attribute London’s rise as a global tech hub?

London’s transformation into a global tech hub lies on the development of a robust tech ecosystem made up from strong components that work together to become more than the sum of their parts. Flexible working spaces that encourage collaboration, accelerator programmes built to reward innovation, an investor community willing to back potential as well as experience and support networks like Tech London Advocates have all contributed to London’s stratospheric rise. 

How is our capital unique in offering an environment for growth and innovation?

Last year, over 200,000 new start-ups began life in London alone, reflecting a culture of innovation that begins at a grassroots level and continues right to the top of government. This cultural shift has been supported by a critical mass of investors, accelerators and incubators that underwrite growth, creating an atmosphere where each idea is given the opportunity to flourish.

Where do you see opportunities for future growth within London’s tech sector?

London’s tech sector has been enormously successful in cultivating a strong set of subsectors that each represent the application of tech-based innovation to an existing industry. As verticals like fintech begin to mature, the stage is set for new deep tech areas like AI, realities and IoT to grow. Similarly, London’s burgeoning creativetech sector cannot be overlooked, with businesses turning to technology to usher in a golden age for our creative industries. 

How will the EU Referendum effect London’s status among the international tech community?

It’s no secret that Brexit is a major hurdle that London must jump on the way to becoming a truly global tech hub. From an international perspective, the decision to leave the European Union clearly sends an unsettling message to international investors and entrepreneurs alike. That said, providing the government takes steps to bridge the funding gap left by the European Investment Fund, as well as offering a visa programme that allows UK firms to continue to employ international talent, London will remain on track to become a cornerstone of the international tech ecosystem.      

What are you looking forward to most this London Tech Week?

London Tech Week is a unique opportunity to bring together all the constituent parts of the capital’s tech industry. It’s a chance for investors, advisors, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to come together in support of everything that makes London a great place to start and scale a tech business. With the eyes of the world on our city, the week is a chance to show the international community that London is open for business.

CEO, Microsoft

To what would you attribute London’s rise as a global tech hub?

London has long created an enviable environment where great ideas can find financial and cultural support.

The UK was at the centre of the first industrial revolution. The country’s natural resources, geography and ingenuity was cultivated by a government that recognised opportunity. Now, as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, industry and government has an opportunity to reinvigorate London into a global centre of research and development centred on technology – specifically AI and machine learning.

How is our capital unique in offering an environment for growth and innovation?

Most tech start-ups are born with global ambition. London has truly global appeal and attracts extraordinary talent from the UK and around the world. These people drive an upward spiral of creativity that constantly replenishes the well of innovation here.

Where do you see opportunities for future growth within London’s tech sector?

Because we are committed to the success and growth of the tech sector, we set up two London outposts for our Microsoft Ventures start-up mentoring programme, and Microsoft Accelerator our scale-up programme.

One area where we are seeing real growth is fintech. Microsoft recently helped the first new clearing bank in 250 years enter the UK market. Clearbank allows banks, building societies, new challenger banks and Fintechs to process some of the 82 trillion online payments made every year in the UK. Offering a new competitive transactional banking service not only disrupts the established players but drives benefits for the whole economy.

How will the EU Referendum effect London’s status among the international tech community?

London will continue to be a major player on the global tech stage, but we see two critical factors for success. Firstly, the continued movement and access of data across borders is key to serve and protect people and businesses on the move. Secondly, even as we build a talent pipeline here in the UK, we will still need to bring a range of skilled people from around the world to London. Do both and we will remain well placed to take advantage of the transformation opportunities offered by the digitisation of the world economy.

What are you looking forward to most this London Tech Week?

In my role as ambassador for London Tech Week I’m most looking forward to hearing from those individuals and businesses who are working to solve real societal problems through digital transformation and deployment of AI.

When it comes to technology, Londoners have always been inventive, creative and embraced new ideas; they are the UK’s early adopters and if any nation capital values the full potential of technology, it’s London.

VP, EMEA Facebook

To what would you attribute London’s rise as a global tech hub?

London has always had a vibrant start-up scene. It is this ecosystem of entrepreneurialism, innovation and collaboration that has given rise to businesses that are transforming whole industries – like TransferWise, Deliveroo, Skype and Citymapper, to name just a few. I think this is down to a perfect storm of creativity, a range of industries taking innovative approaches, brilliant technical talent and a digitally savvy population. It’s for all these reasons that we decided to set up our first London office back in 2007.

How is our capital unique in offering an environment for growth and innovation?

For me, one of the greatest and most unique things about London is that it is a truly global and open city. Some of the world’s most talented computer scientists, developers and electronic engineers come to London to develop their careers. The Facebook office, for instance, has employees from over 60 different nationalities.

What are you looking forward to most this London Tech Week?

I love that this event is happening right here in the capital and that this year’s London Tech Week will be the biggest the city has ever seen. The week is really all about celebrating this great industry of ours, and the role London plays on the global stage. So I’m really excited about the opportunity to meet extraordinary people who are using technology to grow their business.