Friday, January 11, 2013

The Real Costs of Starting Up in London

Just been to an event organised by Startupbootcamp in London at the Google campus (above) and now doing some scouting around the area for another client. I've heard a lot of rumours and rubbish about what it really costs to startup a new tech company in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris.

If you have a limited accommodation budget how can you make the best use of the your (bootstrapped) cash? Yes. location is important if you want to be part of events and the "buzz", but there's a difference between the environment needed to build your company and the place where you pitch your team and product to potential investors.

I've been shocked at the cost of truly awful quality desk space in the heart of Shoreditch in London, with whole teams working in the basement of an office block with no access to natural light. In fact these guys never see the sun. May be OK for a couple of weeks, but I don't personally get inspired by a view of the boiler pipes and wonky wiring and suspect smells from the drains. The cost for a seat at a desk with fast web access was double the cost in London when compared to Amsterdam.
Yes, I have manipulated this picture to protect innocent lives. 
 So contrast Silicon Roundabout....

with the much more pleasant environment in Norwich. Far from being off the beaten track, I've been amazed at how the greater Norwich area has revamped many of its buildings and is now a thriving tech hub. Take Proxama for instance. They've converted a floor in what used to be the Jarrold's Printing Press building into a NFC Wireless Workshop.

Proxama's offices and collaboration space in Norwich.

The old mill - which used to be the printing centre for Jarrolds.

They build in Norwich, then head off to London, New York or Toronto when it is time to pitch and execute. Now that really is smart thinking.

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