As many of you know, Diswo is UK based and we’ve always had an interest in the UK startup scene because of this. Over the last year or so there has been a huge amount of discussion around the web about how the technology scene in Europe, and the UK in particular, is evolving.
It seems that for anywhere to be as remotely successful as Silicon Valley a particular culture has to be developed. A culture driven by risk takers. Some may argue that the City of London has too many risk takers in the form of the bankers but risking your own money and time is different to that of risking others.
Just look at the environment on the West coast of the US. There is initially the entrepreneur and co-founders who may have sacrificed money or time (most probably both to a degree) in order to spend time developing their idea. Initial employees will have given up secure jobs to come work for a fragile start-up with a cloudy future. After a period of time the co-founders then may look for more capital which will involve some kind of investor, either an Angel or a VC firm. And with any kind of investment there is always some level of risk.
So is risk the backbone of the start-up economy?
Do we have this kind of culture here in the UK?
Definitely not yet. It was only 20 years ago that people were still in jobs for life here. Sure, 20 years is a long time but we’ve still got a long way before everyone will feel confident to put their trust and money into 3 young guns in Shoreditch.
Of course there is much more to the ecosystem than those that I’ve mentioned. But risk taking is something we’ve become pretty lax with over the last century in the UK. Where are the explorers of old that used to brave the seven seas and the ice caps of the north. Is their blood still running in the veins of the few dreamers in East London? I hope so.