[LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

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[LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
Tech city seems to have been diluted - first to try and regenerate Stratford, and then to regenerate everywhere else that wants a piece. It's the opposite of a cluster, the opposite of a winning strategy.

As far as government initiatives go, Innovate UK seems to make a big impact, although the costs are probably high as much of the money is likely wasted. The London co-investment fund is modest but helpful, but perhaps distorts the market (should the state really be an investor?). SEIS/EIS are of course the biggest impacting policies on startups, but again at high economic cost. If we didn't have such a bloated state, these tax breaks would make less difference, and would thus be less distorting.

Regards current policy needs/issues, here's a list in no particular order 
*Brexit impacts everything - hiring, exports, even where the EU tech centre will be. Likewise, passporting could ruin the city - and fintech with it. 
*Linked, is immigration/training. There's still a problem getting UK coding talent. Much comes from overseas. Brexit and xenophobia is expected to hit that hard. Politicians seem unable to disentangle demand for talented, well-integrated migrants from the culturally-resistant mass migration that is causing so much social friction. 
*Access to capital is an issue, but that's partly about culture. The US just takes bigger risks, as a nation (frontier living was only 150 years ago, so that's hardly surprising compared to comparatively conservative Europe). It's not that funding isn't available in the UK, but deep-pocket decadal funding is how the FAANGs got going, and we just don't do that - so we don't get FAANGs

I could continue, but I'll let others take over. 

A

On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
I find myself in agreement with Mr Lockley. We must both be part of the liberal elite, like.

On 3 May 2018 at 10:24, Andrew Lockley <[hidden email]> wrote:
Tech city seems to have been diluted - first to try and regenerate Stratford, and then to regenerate everywhere else that wants a piece. It's the opposite of a cluster, the opposite of a winning strategy.

As far as government initiatives go, Innovate UK seems to make a big impact, although the costs are probably high as much of the money is likely wasted. The London co-investment fund is modest but helpful, but perhaps distorts the market (should the state really be an investor?). SEIS/EIS are of course the biggest impacting policies on startups, but again at high economic cost. If we didn't have such a bloated state, these tax breaks would make less difference, and would thus be less distorting.

Regards current policy needs/issues, here's a list in no particular order 
*Brexit impacts everything - hiring, exports, even where the EU tech centre will be. Likewise, passporting could ruin the city - and fintech with it. 
*Linked, is immigration/training. There's still a problem getting UK coding talent. Much comes from overseas. Brexit and xenophobia is expected to hit that hard. Politicians seem unable to disentangle demand for talented, well-integrated migrants from the culturally-resistant mass migration that is causing so much social friction. 
*Access to capital is an issue, but that's partly about culture. The US just takes bigger risks, as a nation (frontier living was only 150 years ago, so that's hardly surprising compared to comparatively conservative Europe). It's not that funding isn't available in the UK, but deep-pocket decadal funding is how the FAANGs got going, and we just don't do that - so we don't get FAANGs

I could continue, but I'll let others take over. 

A

On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
Excuse the double tap... but one pervasive issue is cost of living. This is caused principally by the socialist interventions in the housing market of successive governments. London Labour costs are hugely inflated by housing costs. This is entirely down to artificial supply constraints on housing for workers.

The policy changes needed to reverse this are 
* stop providing social housing in prime areas to people who aren't fundamental to London's economy. Unemployed people need not live adjacent to Regent's Park. Plenty of low skilled jobs could be automated, if employers had to pay the true cost of employing cleaners, checkout staff, etc. 
* scrap minimum space standards for housing. If people choose small houses/rooms, that's their right - just like choosing a small car
* reform housing tax to encourage letting spare rooms. The rent a room tax ceiling is too low, as is council tax. Unused space needs to really burn its owners. 
* reform the planning system, to enable easier intensification. The changes to permitted development rights have been hugely helpful 
* remove greenbelt protection in areas with low landscape/environmental value, and good transport links.
* if socialism prevents the above, at least provide some socialist public transport investment, instead. Crossrail2, etc. shows the way. 

On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:24 Andrew Lockley, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Tech city seems to have been diluted - first to try and regenerate Stratford, and then to regenerate everywhere else that wants a piece. It's the opposite of a cluster, the opposite of a winning strategy.

As far as government initiatives go, Innovate UK seems to make a big impact, although the costs are probably high as much of the money is likely wasted. The London co-investment fund is modest but helpful, but perhaps distorts the market (should the state really be an investor?). SEIS/EIS are of course the biggest impacting policies on startups, but again at high economic cost. If we didn't have such a bloated state, these tax breaks would make less difference, and would thus be less distorting.

Regards current policy needs/issues, here's a list in no particular order 
*Brexit impacts everything - hiring, exports, even where the EU tech centre will be. Likewise, passporting could ruin the city - and fintech with it. 
*Linked, is immigration/training. There's still a problem getting UK coding talent. Much comes from overseas. Brexit and xenophobia is expected to hit that hard. Politicians seem unable to disentangle demand for talented, well-integrated migrants from the culturally-resistant mass migration that is causing so much social friction. 
*Access to capital is an issue, but that's partly about culture. The US just takes bigger risks, as a nation (frontier living was only 150 years ago, so that's hardly surprising compared to comparatively conservative Europe). It's not that funding isn't available in the UK, but deep-pocket decadal funding is how the FAANGs got going, and we just don't do that - so we don't get FAANGs

I could continue, but I'll let others take over. 

A

On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
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1) Small c conservative attitudes in the UK supported by a pervasive old boys network with a low comprehension of technology make it hard to see a unicorn level company emerging here. Impossibly high cost of sales for a start up to sell to the public sector due to institutional inability to deal with smaller companies or take any kind of perceived risk.
2) US (especially bay area) is much more open to new ideas with funding and tolerance of failure - it is a world away from the UK.
3) Pointless? You can't impose a tech community on Stratford where there isn't one. The tech community has been in the M4 corridor from Oxford Circus to Reading since the 80's. (South London bias obvs - I dont like Shoreditch either).

Angus
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On 3 May 2018, at 10:03, Simon Marks <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
Thanks Angus

On #3 - I always scratched my head about that one. I would hate to add up all the time I spent in a car or on a train heading out to Reading back in the 90s to meet with clients. When I last looked at Shoreditch, most of the companies based there seemed to be trying to service the tech industry rather than actual tech start-ups themselves. The start-ups I've worked with ended up being based either a) wherever they could find cheap office space or b) close to the industry they were trying to disrupt.

I actually quite like Shoreditch (more so than Reading) - but I'm wondering quite how much it matters about geographical location?

Simon

From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Angus Fox <[hidden email]>
Sent: 03 May 2018 09:54
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?
 
1) Small c conservative attitudes in the UK supported by a pervasive old boys network with a low comprehension of technology make it hard to see a unicorn level company emerging here. Impossibly high cost of sales for a start up to sell to the public sector due to institutional inability to deal with smaller companies or take any kind of perceived risk.
2) US (especially bay area) is much more open to new ideas with funding and tolerance of failure - it is a world away from the UK.
3) Pointless? You can't impose a tech community on Stratford where there isn't one. The tech community has been in the M4 corridor from Oxford Circus to Reading since the 80's. (South London bias obvs - I dont like Shoreditch either).

Angus
---

On 3 May 2018, at 10:03, Simon Marks <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
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My top 3 challenges are as follows:

1) Govt Strategy is the number 1 challenge.  I find these strategies are buzzword driven with no concept of timescales (and no common sense).  A few years ago I went to a meeting where InnovateUK were collecting opinions on strategy - my ideas were ignored because they did not fit with the limited strategy paper that had been pre-created (this was bureaucracy gone wrong).  I went there because I wanted to help - but that experience had a very negative effect.
2) The govt driven organisations contain people who have no real experience of startups and entrepreneurship (so the phrase "there are those who can be an entrepreneur and those that work for govt innovation strategy" - I know that's cruel but I think its true.
3) With startups the timing of the idea is almost more important than the idea itself.  To have a strategy which has no concept of timing has no value.

 



On 3 May 2018 at 10:03, Simon Marks <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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RE: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2

Just 1 from me – if Brexit means end of freedom of movement for European citizens to the UK (and vice versa) it’s going to be a massive problem

 

There are already too many unfilled vacancies in startups without removing one of the major sources of staff

 

And yes… EU citizens could apply for work visas etc. but it’s lot harder and expensive to recruit someone/find a job  if they’re not already in the country and available to come to interview etc.

 

Plus if you lose your job and you’re on a visa you have less than 2 months to find another job (which will also give you a visa!) before you have to leave the country – the average time for a UK born citizen to find a new job is 4 months… that’s hardly a friendly environment that encourages the best and the brightest to move to the country to setup or work for a startup (especially if they have a family)

 

If you really want to end freedom of movement then how about:

 

a. create “work seeking” visas , where you can live for, say, 6  months in the UK whilst looking for a job (you’d need to pay for medical insurance and you can’t claim benefits)

b. stop kicking out foreign university students (especially STEM) who have just graduated from top UK universities (utter madness)

c. allow visa works who have lost  their job (say after minimum of 6 months of fulltime work ) to switch to the “work seeking” visa above to give them a decent chance to find another position

 

Cheers

Si

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 03 May 2018 10:03
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

 

Hi all

 

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

 

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

 

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

 

cheers

 

Simon





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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2

On 3 May 2018, at 10:24, Andrew Lockley <[hidden email]> wrote:

In line answers

Tech city seems to have been diluted – first to try and regenerate Stratford, and then to regenerate everywhere else that wants a piece. It's the opposite of a cluster, the opposite of a winning strategy.

This is probably the only time in my life I will agree with something that Lockley has said!!!

IMHO when the Government set-up TechCity it was ‘initially’ aimed at moving ‘tech’ to Stratford and ensure the Olympic Park legacy went somewhere and wasn’t left to rot.

Though it took a while Stratford sorted itself out with Westfield attracting over a million people a year to the shopping centre and the various Olympic venues doing OK and HereEast moving into the media centre and the athlete's village pretty well selling out quickly.

The amount of money going into Hackney Wick redevelopment is immense (I remember it from the ‘90s …)

I actually think the straw that broke the Government’s back in terms of redirection of TechCity was Google opening Campus in Shoreditch (which has also seen a huge rise in developments and making it now very costly for start-ups). At the time Shoreditch/Silicon Roundabout became the epicentre of ‘start-up’ hype (with major centres already in the TV corridor, Cambridge etc, but generally with more established companies – exception were DataSift/etc).

There was also then a big push to do stuff in the North so Tech North was born. It was then inevitable that TechCity and TechNorth would merge and thus TechNation.

Also as both organisations became less of a Quango and relied on private funding it also made economic sense.

As far as government initiatives go, Innovate UK seems to make a big impact, although the costs are probably high as much of the money is likely wasted. The London co-investment fund is modest but helpful, but perhaps distorts the market (should the state really be an investor?). SEIS/EIS are of course the biggest impacting policies on startups, but again at high economic cost. If we didn't have such a bloated state, these tax breaks would make less difference, and would thus be less distorting.

Innovate UK has always been there and just has had a rebrand, Digital Catapults are also ‘new’ and are either massive white elephants or will make a difference in the long, only time will tell. They do have positive initiatives like the LPWAN stuff they’ve built, but could the money be spent more wisely elsewhere.

London Co-Investment Fund actually gets most of it funding from the EU (still I believe), Capital Enterprise definitely does.

SEIS/EIS only work if investors have spare cash and large tax bills, it was aimed at HNWs and getting them to fund start-ups. We set-up City Meets Tech up for exactly that reason and it worked well for quite a while, but over the last year or so investors started to dry up (well the City investors we were trying to attract – mainly because bonuses dropped in cash value and more was paid in options etc so there was less of a cash pool, this wil continue especially in the Brexit uncertainty).

Regards current policy needs/issues, here's a list in no particular order *Brexit impacts everything – hiring, exports, even where the EU tech centre will be. Likewise, passporting could ruin the city – and fintech with it. *Linked, is immigration/training. There's still a problem getting UK coding talent. Much comes from overseas. Brexit and xenophobia is expected to hit that hard. Politicians seem unable to disentangle demand for talented, well-integrated migrants from the culturally-resistant mass migration that is causing so much social friction. *Access to capital is an issue, but that's partly about culture. The US just takes bigger risks, as a nation (frontier living was only 150 years ago, so that's hardly surprising compared to comparatively conservative Europe). It's not that funding isn't available in the UK, but deep-pocket decadal funding is how the FAANGs got going, and we just don't do that – so we don't get FAANGs

Access to capital is going to get a LOT harder. The EIB/EIF funding of UK funds has massively decreased (apart from Isomer Capital who just received a large chunk of capital). Everyone wants to fund scale-ups not start-ups as their business models are proven. Finding VC’s that will really do seed funding is getting more difficult, though some will.

Steve

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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
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On 3 May 2018, at 10:37, Andrew Lockley <[hidden email]> wrote:

Excuse the double tap… but one pervasive issue is cost of living. This is caused principally by the socialist interventions in the housing market of successive governments. London Labour costs are hugely inflated by housing costs. This is entirely down to artificial supply constraints on housing for workers.

The policy changes needed to reverse this are

  • stop providing social housing in prime areas to people who aren't fundamental to London's economy. Unemployed people need not live adjacent to Regent's Park. Plenty of low skilled jobs could be automated, if employers had to pay the true cost of employing cleaners, checkout staff, etc.

  • scrap minimum space standards for housing. If people choose small houses/rooms, that's their right – just like choosing a small car

  • reform housing tax to encourage letting spare rooms. The rent a room tax ceiling is too low, as is council tax. Unused space needs to really burn its owners.

  • reform the planning system, to enable easier intensification. The changes to permitted development rights have been hugely helpful

  • remove greenbelt protection in areas with low landscape/environmental value, and good transport links.

  • if socialism prevents the above, at least provide some socialist public transport investment, instead. Crossrail2, etc. shows the way.

OK now I can disagree :)

Steve

— NetTek Ltd UK mob +44 7775 755503 UK +44 20 3432 3735 / US +1 (650) 423 1390 social id stevekennedyuk Euro Tech News Blog http://eurotechnews.blogspot.com

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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
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On 3 May 2018, at 10:54, Angus Fox <[hidden email]> wrote:

1) Small c conservative attitudes in the UK supported by a pervasive old boys network with a low comprehension of technology make it hard to see a unicorn level company emerging here. Impossibly high cost of sales for a start up to sell to the public sector due to institutional inability to deal with smaller companies or take any kind of perceived risk.

It can be done but only by working with the large established consultancies who resell/support your product into the banks and raise the price considerably (I know a Fintech company that was selling a product lots of banks were buying, they sold it for about £1,000 pm and their consultancy were selling for at least £10,000 pm if not more, but they supported it and put their name behind it).

2) US (especially bay area) is much more open to new ideas with funding and tolerance of failure – it is a world away from the UK.

The US has always had a ‘pay it forward’ attitude and as Angus says has been less risk averse (especially west coast, New York has generally been very similar to UK in terms of risk/etc).

Intel was set-up from people working at Fairchild semiconductor and seed funded by some of the senior staff, Intel wasn’t initially competing with Fairchild’s core business. Same with Zilog (ex Intel) etc.

That core attitude prevailed and spread through SV (SF is only 7 miles sq), also many industrial areas are part of residential areas, so the whole networking thing was also ingrained.

3) Pointless? You can't impose a tech community on Stratford where there isn't one. The tech community has been in the M4 corridor from Oxford Circus to Reading since the 80's. (South London bias obvs – I dont like Shoreditch either).

Stratford grew anyway, Westfield and the regeneration of the area all helped. The Olympic Park is a beautiful park.

Steve

— NetTek Ltd UK mob +44 7775 755503 UK +44 20 3432 3735 / US +1 (650) 423 1390 social id stevekennedyuk Euro Tech News Blog http://eurotechnews.blogspot.com

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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
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On 3 May 2018, at 11:15, Simon Marks <[hidden email]> wrote:

Thanks Angus On #3 – I always scratched my head about that one. I would hate to add up all the time I spent in a car or on a train heading out to Reading back in the 90s to meet with clients. When I last looked at Shoreditch, most of the companies based there seemed to be trying to service the tech industry rather than actual tech start-ups themselves. The start-ups I've worked with ended up being based either a) wherever they could find cheap office space or b) close to the industry they were trying to disrupt. I actually quite like Shoreditch (more so than Reading) – but I'm wondering quite how much it matters about geographical location?

It’s amazing how many corporates have moved into Shoreditch (or have some kind of base there).

Barclays have Rise.London Adobe in White Collar Factory Amazon Cisco etc etc

Steve

— NetTek Ltd UK mob +44 7775 755503 UK +44 20 3432 3735 / US +1 (650) 423 1390 social id stevekennedyuk Euro Tech News Blog http://eurotechnews.blogspot.com

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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
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Also a HUGE f-up where HMRC failed to negotiate EMI before Apr 6th (and announced it Apr 4th), so no one can currently start an EMI option scheme (and it’s assumed past ones are ‘potentially’ safe). I can see no reason for the EU to rush on this one … HMRC cant do anything without breaking state aid regulations.

Steve

— NetTek Ltd UK mob +44 7775 755503 UK +44 20 3432 3735 / US +1 (650) 423 1390 social id stevekennedyuk Euro Tech News Blog http://eurotechnews.blogspot.com

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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
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a. create “work seeking” visas , where you can live for, say, 6  months in the UK whilst looking for a job (you’d need to pay for medical insurance and you can’t claim benefits)
b. stop kicking out foreign university students (especially STEM) who have just graduated from top UK universities (utter madness)
c. allow visa works who have lost  their job (say after minimum of 6 months of fulltime work ) to switch to the “work seeking” visa above to give them a decent chance to find another position

Nice idea, but my experience of getting good (non-EU and post-BRexit, EU) guys on board is that, for startups at least, the UK is ridiculously expensive.  One Canadian I know to get a permanent work visa cost the company in the order of £15k. 


Chris Powell


On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 11:48 AM, Simon Bone <[hidden email]> wrote:

Just 1 from me – if Brexit means end of freedom of movement for European citizens to the UK (and vice versa) it’s going to be a massive problem

 

There are already too many unfilled vacancies in startups without removing one of the major sources of staff

 

And yes… EU citizens could apply for work visas etc. but it’s lot harder and expensive to recruit someone/find a job  if they’re not already in the country and available to come to interview etc.

 

Plus if you lose your job and you’re on a visa you have less than 2 months to find another job (which will also give you a visa!) before you have to leave the country – the average time for a UK born citizen to find a new job is 4 months… that’s hardly a friendly environment that encourages the best and the brightest to move to the country to setup or work for a startup (especially if they have a family)

 

If you really want to end freedom of movement then how about:

 

a. create “work seeking” visas , where you can live for, say, 6  months in the UK whilst looking for a job (you’d need to pay for medical insurance and you can’t claim benefits)

b. stop kicking out foreign university students (especially STEM) who have just graduated from top UK universities (utter madness)

c. allow visa works who have lost  their job (say after minimum of 6 months of fulltime work ) to switch to the “work seeking” visa above to give them a decent chance to find another position

 

Cheers

Si

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 03 May 2018 10:03
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

 

Hi all

 

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

 

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

 

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

 

cheers

 

Simon





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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
Thanks everyone - that was really interesting.

Simon

From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Chris Powell <[hidden email]>
Sent: 03 May 2018 11:23
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?
 
a. create “work seeking” visas , where you can live for, say, 6  months in the UK whilst looking for a job (you’d need to pay for medical insurance and you can’t claim benefits)
b. stop kicking out foreign university students (especially STEM) who have just graduated from top UK universities (utter madness)
c. allow visa works who have lost  their job (say after minimum of 6 months of fulltime work ) to switch to the “work seeking” visa above to give them a decent chance to find another position

Nice idea, but my experience of getting good (non-EU and post-BRexit, EU) guys on board is that, for startups at least, the UK is ridiculously expensive.  One Canadian I know to get a permanent work visa cost the company in the order of £15k. 


Chris Powell


On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 11:48 AM, Simon Bone <[hidden email]> wrote:

Just 1 from me – if Brexit means end of freedom of movement for European citizens to the UK (and vice versa) it’s going to be a massive problem

 

There are already too many unfilled vacancies in startups without removing one of the major sources of staff

 

And yes… EU citizens could apply for work visas etc. but it’s lot harder and expensive to recruit someone/find a job  if they’re not already in the country and available to come to interview etc.

 

Plus if you lose your job and you’re on a visa you have less than 2 months to find another job (which will also give you a visa!) before you have to leave the country – the average time for a UK born citizen to find a new job is 4 months… that’s hardly a friendly environment that encourages the best and the brightest to move to the country to setup or work for a startup (especially if they have a family)

 

If you really want to end freedom of movement then how about:

 

a. create “work seeking” visas , where you can live for, say, 6  months in the UK whilst looking for a job (you’d need to pay for medical insurance and you can’t claim benefits)

b. stop kicking out foreign university students (especially STEM) who have just graduated from top UK universities (utter madness)

c. allow visa works who have lost  their job (say after minimum of 6 months of fulltime work ) to switch to the “work seeking” visa above to give them a decent chance to find another position

 

Cheers

Si

 

From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 03 May 2018 10:03
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

 

Hi all

 

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

 

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

 

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

 

cheers

 

Simon





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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
Hi Simon, 

Welcome back.
I run a tiny boutique Construction company, 
And I am also working on an early startup that aims to change how we manage and collaborate data for design, build and construction supply chain.

Based on my limited experience my 2 cents on the topic are: 

1. Degrees are still considered more valuable then capabilities or experience.
2. Corporate experience is still considered more valuable then challenger experience, solutions or ideas.
3. Who introduces you is still more valuable then how good the product or service is.
4. Funnel vision,
5. Risk adversity, 
6. Change adversity,
7. Funding,
8. Funding access, miriad of intermediaries, gatekeepers and consultants to even get to talk with posible investors,
6. Cost of labour imposed by cost of living,
7. Brexit, so much uncertainty, 
8. Government has no clue,
9. Government has no strategy (besides BS on paper),
10. Common sense is not that common.









On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
Thanks Cristian

On #8/9 - while I accept that Govt isn't always best placed to understand Entrepreneurs, what do you think it could be doing better? And what about it's intermediaries like TechNation?

Simon

From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Cristian <[hidden email]>
Sent: 03 May 2018 21:17
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?
 
Hi Simon, 

Welcome back.
I run a tiny boutique Construction company, 
And I am also working on an early startup that aims to change how we manage and collaborate data for design, build and construction supply chain.

Based on my limited experience my 2 cents on the topic are: 

1. Degrees are still considered more valuable then capabilities or experience.
2. Corporate experience is still considered more valuable then challenger experience, solutions or ideas.
3. Who introduces you is still more valuable then how good the product or service is.
4. Funnel vision,
5. Risk adversity, 
6. Change adversity,
7. Funding,
8. Funding access, miriad of intermediaries, gatekeepers and consultants to even get to talk with posible investors,
6. Cost of labour imposed by cost of living,
7. Brexit, so much uncertainty, 
8. Government has no clue,
9. Government has no strategy (besides BS on paper),
10. Common sense is not that common.









On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
Hi Simon,


I had no contact with TechNation, first time I'm hearing about them so I can't tell ... But the moment you mentioned "it's intermediaries" it sent me to what I mentioning before ... "Miriad of intermediaries, gatekeepers and consultants" :)

What could be done better, a lot of things that do not involve consultants and middle man. 

Examples:

- Introduce a corporate tax relief for the first 2 or 3 years. For a startup every penny counts, those 20% make a huge difference.

- Instaid of "one size fits all" strategy, establish a reaserch budget SPLIT by Industry, where startups addressing industry specific issues can go for funding. (Tech is more then just fintech)

- Create joint venture funds with industry leaders to invest in startups bringing new ideas. This way you mitigate the risk for both sides.

- Remove the barriers and crazy criteria's necessary for accesing public works. A lot of the public spend is "leeched" by 3 to 4 intermediaries until it ends up being subcontracted for almost nothing by small companies (usually startups).

- Stop looking at "how much" is invested and pay attention to where it is invested. 
Example:
Do we invest in solution startups or do we invest in "consulting" startups ? 
Do we invest in production startups or do we invest on "social media" ? 
Do we finance testing or prototyping ideas or do we finance "how to raise finances" ? 



Also,
With no offense, Europe tends to be way ahead of UK on almost every Industry besides financial services, and Britain just decided to cut off access to people that have experience in those areas. 
And when UK had access to them it refused to learn from their experience.

Go to Germany, and ask how much it cost to build a Passive House, at what finishing level, how long it will take to build and for how many years is guaranteed "maintainance free". 
Then ask a UK developer to replicate it ... The answer will be, either "what's a passive house?", or "we do not have people that know how to use those products".
Result ... Same old cavity but more expensive every year.






On Fri, 4 May 2018, 10:28 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks Cristian

On #8/9 - while I accept that Govt isn't always best placed to understand Entrepreneurs, what do you think it could be doing better? And what about it's intermediaries like TechNation?

Simon

From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Cristian <[hidden email]>
Sent: 03 May 2018 21:17
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?
 
Hi Simon, 

Welcome back.
I run a tiny boutique Construction company, 
And I am also working on an early startup that aims to change how we manage and collaborate data for design, build and construction supply chain.

Based on my limited experience my 2 cents on the topic are: 

1. Degrees are still considered more valuable then capabilities or experience.
2. Corporate experience is still considered more valuable then challenger experience, solutions or ideas.
3. Who introduces you is still more valuable then how good the product or service is.
4. Funnel vision,
5. Risk adversity, 
6. Change adversity,
7. Funding,
8. Funding access, miriad of intermediaries, gatekeepers and consultants to even get to talk with posible investors,
6. Cost of labour imposed by cost of living,
7. Brexit, so much uncertainty, 
8. Government has no clue,
9. Government has no strategy (besides BS on paper),
10. Common sense is not that common.









On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
Hi Simon, 

You asked what are the top 3 challenges , and in my top3 I mentioned Mentality, Mentality. Mentality, government and strategy going down to 8-9

Here is the latest example:

A founder works for 3 years refining the idea and architecture for a Distributed solution for the construction industry. 

He pitches his concept to a number of Angels to raise seed capital. 
A couple of Angels become extremely interested, to the point of asking details down to : "EG, login, sign up, register a profile, list an item, search for providers, rate users, chat with users etc"

Then they go silent.

One month later you find out that another startup just joined an industry group, with a similar proposition. Nothing wrong with that.
You go to their website, you find the information presented there extremely similar to the content of your emails and phone conversations.
The content of that site is so similar that, that it shares even the same mistakes that you had 4 months ago, or red-herrings that you provided to the the Angel Investor.
But strangely enough there is absolutely nothing about the founders, who created the site, the company, who is behind that page.

Now:
- do you think this is a single incident or is it a general desease covered up by the saying "ideas don't matter" ?

- what do you think it happens to the confidence of entrepreneurs that end up in this situations, would they even dare trying again ? 

- what do you think happens with a complex concept that was copied with out being fully understood ? Will it still reach the same long term vision and bring the same social benefits or will end up as just another way of a handful to get ritcher quicker ? 


Looking forward for your reply,
Yours sincerely
Cristian


On Fri, 4 May 2018, 21:11 Cristian, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Simon,


I had no contact with TechNation, first time I'm hearing about them so I can't tell ... But the moment you mentioned "it's intermediaries" it sent me to what I mentioning before ... "Miriad of intermediaries, gatekeepers and consultants" :)

What could be done better, a lot of things that do not involve consultants and middle man. 

Examples:

- Introduce a corporate tax relief for the first 2 or 3 years. For a startup every penny counts, those 20% make a huge difference.

- Instaid of "one size fits all" strategy, establish a reaserch budget SPLIT by Industry, where startups addressing industry specific issues can go for funding. (Tech is more then just fintech)

- Create joint venture funds with industry leaders to invest in startups bringing new ideas. This way you mitigate the risk for both sides.

- Remove the barriers and crazy criteria's necessary for accesing public works. A lot of the public spend is "leeched" by 3 to 4 intermediaries until it ends up being subcontracted for almost nothing by small companies (usually startups).

- Stop looking at "how much" is invested and pay attention to where it is invested. 
Example:
Do we invest in solution startups or do we invest in "consulting" startups ? 
Do we invest in production startups or do we invest on "social media" ? 
Do we finance testing or prototyping ideas or do we finance "how to raise finances" ? 



Also,
With no offense, Europe tends to be way ahead of UK on almost every Industry besides financial services, and Britain just decided to cut off access to people that have experience in those areas. 
And when UK had access to them it refused to learn from their experience.

Go to Germany, and ask how much it cost to build a Passive House, at what finishing level, how long it will take to build and for how many years is guaranteed "maintainance free". 
Then ask a UK developer to replicate it ... The answer will be, either "what's a passive house?", or "we do not have people that know how to use those products".
Result ... Same old cavity but more expensive every year.






On Fri, 4 May 2018, 10:28 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks Cristian

On #8/9 - while I accept that Govt isn't always best placed to understand Entrepreneurs, what do you think it could be doing better? And what about it's intermediaries like TechNation?

Simon

From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Cristian <[hidden email]>
Sent: 03 May 2018 21:17
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?
 
Hi Simon, 

Welcome back.
I run a tiny boutique Construction company, 
And I am also working on an early startup that aims to change how we manage and collaborate data for design, build and construction supply chain.

Based on my limited experience my 2 cents on the topic are: 

1. Degrees are still considered more valuable then capabilities or experience.
2. Corporate experience is still considered more valuable then challenger experience, solutions or ideas.
3. Who introduces you is still more valuable then how good the product or service is.
4. Funnel vision,
5. Risk adversity, 
6. Change adversity,
7. Funding,
8. Funding access, miriad of intermediaries, gatekeepers and consultants to even get to talk with posible investors,
6. Cost of labour imposed by cost of living,
7. Brexit, so much uncertainty, 
8. Government has no clue,
9. Government has no strategy (besides BS on paper),
10. Common sense is not that common.









On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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Re: [LondonOpenCoffee] Top 3 challenges facing startups in the UK?

chencho-2
In reply to this post by chencho-2
A jock
A phesent birdie picking teeks of the skin of a bull complaints
Life is a beach
Bull asks why
Birdie however I try I can not fly to even the law branches of the tree
Bull say that's all 
Look this humans use my shit and succeed
You just have to pic on it
On just the first pic it achieves the low branches
Second pic it reaches the high ones
Third pic reaches the top of the tree and before it could enjoy it a Farmer on his rocking chair sees a fat phesent aims his gun and shoot's it

The moral of the story is you can reach the top on bull shit but can not last unless you have crafted your success and not got it by chance 80 percent of so called success is just luck 
You were born in a good family a good country have a good body friends education job etc

HD

On Thu, 3 May 2018, 22:17 Cristian, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Simon, 

Welcome back.
I run a tiny boutique Construction company, 
And I am also working on an early startup that aims to change how we manage and collaborate data for design, build and construction supply chain.

Based on my limited experience my 2 cents on the topic are: 

1. Degrees are still considered more valuable then capabilities or experience.
2. Corporate experience is still considered more valuable then challenger experience, solutions or ideas.
3. Who introduces you is still more valuable then how good the product or service is.
4. Funnel vision,
5. Risk adversity, 
6. Change adversity,
7. Funding,
8. Funding access, miriad of intermediaries, gatekeepers and consultants to even get to talk with posible investors,
6. Cost of labour imposed by cost of living,
7. Brexit, so much uncertainty, 
8. Government has no clue,
9. Government has no strategy (besides BS on paper),
10. Common sense is not that common.









On Thu, 3 May 2018, 10:03 Simon Marks, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all

I haven't been on here in a while - glad to see it's still going strong.

I've been asked to put together a policy proposal around UK start-ups and the challenges they face. I was hoping you might be able to give me your top 3 challenges, preferably that are specific to the UK. If you have knowledge of start-ups in Europe or the US and how they do things better, that would be hugely helpful, too.

Lastly - what does everyone think of TechCity/Nation? Has it lived up to its early promises? What could it do better to help support the UK start-up scene?

cheers

Simon




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