When the term ‘Silicon Roundabout’ was used to describe London’s burgeoning technology hub 10 years ago, many people scoffed in derision. Even those who coined the phrase did so with a sense of self-depreciating humour, as they acknowledged the gulf that existed between the UK’s firms and their American contemporaries in Silicon Valley.
The howls of laughter have subsided in recent times, however, as the Silicon Roundabout has continued to enjoy exponential growth and become increasingly influential in the UK economy.
In this post, we’ll ask how the Silicon Valley is faring in the current economy, while addressing the portents for the marketplace post-Brexit.
Where Does the Silicon Roundabout Stand in the Global Market?
While the continent-economies of America and China may continue to dominate the tech sector, the growth of the Silicon Roundabout has helped the UK to become the third most powerful technology hub in the world.
Per capita, the figures even suggest that Britain has outstripped the United States during the last five years or more, while the region has certainly emerged as the dominant force in the European marketplace.
In fact, last year saw London raise more than twice the amount of money required to fund digital companies than any other city in Europe, with a total of £6.7 billion invested in tech firms and the key Silicon Roundabout players.
Between 2012 and 2016, the total investment in Britain and the Silicon Roundabout reached a cumulative total of £28 billion. This was more than the UK’s three closest rivals (namely France, Germany and the Netherlands) combined, highlighting how London’s technology hub has become the market leader for an entire continent.
This also offers an insight into how the Silicon Roundabout has narrowed the gap on its contemporaries in the States, while becoming a key economic engine during turbulent times for the Britain.
How Will the Silicon Roundabout Fare Post-Brexit?
The growing influence of tech startups and the Silicon Roundabout should not come as a surprise, with small businesses in the UK generating an estimated £1.9 in revenue every single year.
It also accounts for 60% of all private sector employment in the current climate, with 16.1 million people working for SMEs across the length and breadth of the country.
While the growth of the Silicon Roundabout cannot be denied, however, there’s no doubt that the lingering spectre of Brexit provides a threat to its future. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that the popularity of London’s tech hub among starts has already begun to slump, with Berlin closing the gap by a single percentage point according to the European Startup Initiative.
Strangely, these figures may have been primarily influenced by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the UK’s future relationship with the EU. This means that investment in the Silicon Roundabout and its popularity may increase once the terms of Brexit have been finalised, but for now there’s no doubt that it faces an uncertain future.
In the short-term, this means that tech startups may need to seek out funding from traditional lenders like Liberis, at least until the current economic volatility has subsided.
However, experts believe that the Silicon Valley will continue to grow incrementally over time, while it’s also likely to play an influential role in the development of the national economy post-Brexit.