Chapter 1. Trends Shaping the London Tech Scene

Figure 1-1. London does have unicorns

Finance, journalism, trade, the arts, government—London has been known as a world leader in these areas for centuries. Computer technology doesn’t arouse such an immediate association with London, but since the mid-2000s it has steadily taken hold in all those areas of London activity and has created a vibrant, independent business environment of its own. While not as “hot” as Silicon Valley (no Facebooks or Apples have been launched in London, and few unicorns), London’s tech scene obeys its own “slow and steady” growth model.

This report aims to be a comprehensive view of the computer technology scene in London: where it stands, some of its origins, who’s participating in it, and what feeds its strengths.

I happen to be examining the phenomenon of computer technology in London at an odd moment, because many people attribute its robustness to Britain’s presence in the European Union. The British have notoriously just come away from a historic vote that, over the next few years, will undo that relationship, while trying to maintain as close a business and cultural connection to the Continent as possible. Although this report does not examine politics or take on the dicey task of predicting the impact of the Brexit, we will examine London’s ties to the continent and the impact of these ties on ...

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