Have you ever noticed how many interesting accents you come across in talking to high growth companies ?
Over the last 10 years of working with high growth companies I have always been interested to note the international flavour of founder teams.
It seems that for many years the UK has been able to attract bright and dynamic students from abroad who often form the core team behind university spin outs or other early stage businesses.
Indeed I recently sat on a panel reviewing Edinburgh University MBA students start-up projects and the incredibly diverse range of nationalities was very apparent.
Over the last 6 months however what has also struck me is how many high growth companies are seeking to relocate to the UK or establish their corporate headquarters in the UK while maintaining key operations in their home countries.
Granted, “corporate headquarters” may be a slightly grandiose term for one or two entrepreneurs relocating to the UK and immersing themselves in the thriving entrepreneurial and investment communities but still, the motivation and aspiration is interesting and to be welcomed.
At the moment I am working with several companies who are doing just that.
The obvious attractions include :
- access to early stage equity investment;
- availability of technically talented programmers and scientists;
- a nurturing start-up ecology; and
- an underlying belief that the UK is a good place in which to live and work.
Sometimes there can be more negative considerations, including restrictions on the free movement of capital, a complete lack of public sector support or the absence of any culture of entrepreneurialism in the home countries of some of these border hopping entrepreneurs.
Whatever the attraction, when taken together with the number of non-UK investors that are active in the UK market, there can be no denying that the UK must be one of the best places in the world to try and establish a successful high growth technology business.
While the unique offerings of Silicon Valley and other technology hotspots will always be something to aspire to, the grass does seem to be pretty green right here right now.
But then again, I see lots of deals in London and Scotland and perhaps this, and the sun finally making an appearance, is making me unjustifiably upbeat?