London’s booming tech scene began to spring up after the global recession, in 2008, caused rents to drop in East London. By 2010, tech was the only industry still growing. East London, which has 50,000 high-tech workers, 30 business accelerators and more than 2,000 startups, is now a booming tech hub.
The city as a whole contains more than 5,000 tech companies. The British government started a series of schemes to lure tech talent to England, including an Exceptional Talent Visa, an Enterprise Investment Scheme and a Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.
Global tech companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Cisco and Microsoft, have all set up regional centers in London. The city is also home to the Innovation Warehouse, a co-working incubator for digital startups, which offers them access to a network of angel investors and mentors.
Tech accelerators, such as TechStars and Seedcamp, and incubators such as TechHub and Wayra UK, Rainmaking Colab and Impact Hub Westminster have all opened in London, fueling the startup scene.
The UK plan to leave the EU, aka Brexit, is likely to have a strong impact on the London tech scene. Currently, about 35 percent of tech workers in the UK come from outside the country. In the future, facing work restrictions in the UK, European tech talent may choose to go elsewhere; France and Germany, who remain part of the EU, are both making a big push to lure such workers to their countries.
In addition, many global tech giants are expanding operations in Europe. This may mean that not only will European tech talent choose to stay in the EU, but also many British workers may consider moving to Europe, despite needing visas to live and work in the EU.