Going Global: London is Calling!

London is considered the largest startup hub in Europe with the best networks, which makes it attractive for all companies planning to expand internationally.

A business ecosystem with outstanding networks

In a 25 kilometer radius, young and innovative companies in London find everything they need to grow quickly and successfully. Embedded in a dynamic and vital startup scene, no other city in Europe or the US has so many political decision makers, regulatory authorities, enterprises and investors so close together. The London mix of industries that are traditionally strong, such as finance, fashion and advertising, in combination with innovation technologies and the creative industries, offers Munich-based founders who want to expand a multitude of opportunities for growth.

What’s important in stages of growth is capital. The conditions for finding investors in London are unique, because the city has significantly more growth capital compared to other hubs. Startups in London raised nearly twice as much risk capital than in any other European city last year (source: Dealroom.Co). As a result, the UK capital is also the unicorn capital of Europe. Fintech pioneers like Revolut and TransferWise, the eCommerce platform Farfetch or the healthtech company Babylon Health have all implemented their business ideas in London with great success.

Another strength London offers are its skilled professionals and talent pool. The local universities are among the best in the world and ensure the labor market is infused with young and highly skilled graduates, many with an international background. And because more software developers live in London than anywhere else in Europe, it comes as no surprise that in addition to thousands of startups from around the world, companies such as Facebook, Google and Spotify have made London their second home. Companies from Munich that have most recently made their way to London include Lilium, IDNow and Celonis.

Many German founders find that London is not only a key business location, but also a city that offers an exceptional quality of life. The countless restaurants and diverse cultural offerings provide an unparalleled work-life balance. And with six airports, the city is one of the best connected transport hubs worldwide that can be easily and reliably reached from Munich, Germany and the rest of the world.

London and Munich are closely linked when it comes to the future

In addition to the attractive startup ecosystem in London, Munich startups benefit from the close and multi-faceted business relations between the two cities. As major economic centers, London and Munich are united by their European cultural heritage with its forward-looking values of diversity and creative ideas. These shared ideals lead to close partnerships between our political decision makers, companies and educational institutions and make it easier for startups to enter the market in a new country.

In many future-oriented industries, such as artificial intelligence, immersive technologies, biotech or smart city, there is a lively exchange of knowledge and collaboration to promote startups and their specific strengths. For example, Imperial College London and the Technical University of Munich have entered into a strategic partnership for education, research and innovation. They extend collaboration to the research fields of computer science, medicine and medical sciences, biotechnology, molecular science, life sciences, physics, energy and new materials as well as mechanical engineering and aerospace technology. And of course large Bavarian companies are also actively involved in future-oriented activities in London. In 2019, Siemens announced that it would be testing its latest 5G and IoT technologies in London for the British market. Adidas also uses the city as a testbed for innovative ideas: The new, ultra-modern flagship store on Oxford Street integrates digital technologies into its customers’ on-site shopping experience.

The trade and investment relations between London and Bavaria have been enhanced in recent years. During a visit in August 2019, the Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs signed an agreement to reinforce and intensify the economic relations between London and the Land of Bavaria. Since the agreement, the business development agencies London & Partners and Invest Bavaria have regularly collaborated in joint events and support companies and stakeholders from both regions.

Top tips for expanding to London

• Find the right cluster – In the British capital, business clusters and support networks have developed in various sectors – such as in Canary Wharf and City of London as finance districts, around Kings Cross for life sciences and AI or in East London for the tech cluster. In addition to potential customers, clients or partners, startups will also find offers in London such as coworking spaces for specific industries.

• Recruit the right talent – A critical success factor for companies, regardless of whether they’ve just started or are leading the market, are employees. Highly skilled international talent with degrees from top universities live and work in the cosmopolitan city of London. From finance experts to software engineers or developers, companies find top-notch employees in the British capital to turn their businesses into a success.

• Use networks and programs – The number of accelerators and incubators in London is extraordinary. International and regional players offer a multitude of programs that support startups from different sectors and in various stages of growth. Here too, our collaboration is being stepped up with accelerators that are active in both cities. At Here East, Google Campus and Level39, startups gain access to key networks, consulting services and support from other startups and companies. With the Mayor’s International Growth Programme and the Business Growth Programme, London & Partners also offers two programs with different objectives to make it easier for startups to enter the London ecosystem.

Regardless of how the final Brexit negotiations turn out, London will remain an open-minded, global metropolis that would like to work closely with Munich and other economic centers in Germany. And we will continue to welcome startups and international talent from Munich and from all over the world.

Help with founding and expanding

If you are thinking about starting a company or expanding to London, feel free to contact London & Partners. As the official trade, investment and promotional agency of the city of London, we help companies, startups and scaleups enter the market in London with our network of partners. We offer support in the form of market analysis and go-to-market strategies, provide advice in selecting the right legal form and with taxes, and help with finding office space or with recruiting. Our expert teams provide confidential and individual consulting services free of charge and open up paths and channels for companies to enter the London ecosystem.

Since 2019, London & Partners has been intensifying relations with local stakeholders right from Munich where it offers direct and simple consulting services. London & Partners also runs another office in Berlin, which is the central office in Germany.