Boris Johnson, the mayor of London has been in New York extolling the virtues of London as a hub for tech and digital start-ups and he is not wrong. In 2014 some 1.4 billion dollars of investment was made in digital businesses in London with some 250,000 people employed in the sector. What are the advantages of London over say San Francisco? The staff and legal costs of setting up a business are lower. There is an existing body of expertise willing and ready to make things work. The weakness is funding. London cannot compare with 70 to 160 billion dollar investment made in Silicon Valley by venture companies. Nevertheless, London remains a favoured destination for tech and digital investment.
This week Boris Johnson, mayor of London, has been banging his drum in New York. He is not, however, promoting his ideas about Europe, the Conservative party or Winston Churchill, the subject of his latest book. Instead, Mr Johnson is doing the cyber version of taking coals to Newcastle: telling American tech entrepreneurs that London is a cool place to work and invest. Never mind Silicon Valley or New York’s Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass); US entrepreneurs and investors should head to Shoreditch and Bournemouth. Or so Mr Johnson’s sales pitch goes.