London thoroughly deserves its well earned accolade of “Tech City” or “Silicon Roundabout”. Recent reports over the past year suggest up to three-quarters of the EIS money and half of the available early stage venture capital goes into companies registered in London and the South East. However, the recently published Tech Nation Report paints a rather different perspective. It suggests that digital media is the fastest growing sector of the economy and indicates that about 72% of digital start ups have been created outside the capital. Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Oxbridge and Edinburgh appear to be particular hot spots.
However, that on its own does not tell the whole story. To achieve scale (see www.scaleupreport.org), these companies must have access to capital and we are still faced with the old conundrum. How can we find more effective ways of deploying capital in the regions where there are lots of great opportunities if only they had the capital to scale. Edinburgh alone now boasts two Billion Dollar companies – both funded by American capital. To replicate these successes across the country, we must widen the pool of high calibre leadership talent in the regions and they in turn will take the lead in accessing capital – investment always follows bright people with great ideas.