Tom Coates famously wrote last July, what many of us in the UK were thinking and discussing. “Where are all of the UK start-ups?” Besides the tenuous UK links to the success of Skype and the deservedly and often quoted rising star of the UK start-up scene LastFM; where indeed were all the other cool new UK start-ups to match Flickr, Delicious, Writely, Technorati, Six Apart etc?
At various UK events and across many UK blogs, often there was a fierce discussion raging on this very subject, which invariably concluded that the dearth of start-ups was not due to a lack of talent or innovative ideas in the UK but due in the main to a lack of known “Angel VC funders”. i.e where should an entrepreneur go to find the £500k needed to give birth to their embryonic idea? As ever, finding capital to back your venture once you need £5m+ is a much simpler task and probably will always remain the case due to the lower risks associated with funding a proven start-up.
As a result of this on-going dilemma, a number of people, including myself, recently got together to determine if there was something we could do to resolve the situation or at the very least change the status quo. As a group we asked ourselves why and more importantly how does Silicon Valley continue to produce so many new start-ups. The why factor we felt centred around the American “can do, will do” cultural mentality which differs from the UK “can do, may do”. Thus the number of people in the UK with a “will do” mentality is a much smaller pool which in-turn reflects in the fewer UK start-ups that consequently appear on the Angel VC radar.
The how factor though was slightly harder to determine but we concluded that a number of factors had came together last year – cheaper better software coupled with cheaper faster bandwidth – which had lowered the initial start-up costs, thus enabling many more entrepreneurs to prove their idea in the real world prior to seeking funding. At the same time there were also cheaper easier content creation tools appearing; namely wikis & blogs and one in particular TechCrunch.com, which we collectively felt played a major role in creating the successful environment that brought many start-ups onto the attention of the USA Angel VC’s.
Therefore the proposal was to go away and create an equivalent site which enables UK based start-ups to be viewed and reviewed in one place. Therefore I am excited to announce the launch of TechCrunch UK today. In the coming months I hope to be reviewing many UK based or focused startups.
To read more about who I am, see our About section, also linked above in the navigation bar. Please email me at sam dot sethi at vecosys dot com, or Skype me at samksethi, with any tips or bugs.