A brave group of young tech policy enthusiasts boarded the first Eurostar morning train on the morning of September 18th. Our goal: To unlock the secrets of London’s vibrant tech startup scene in one day packed with surprising and thought-provoking encounters.
Our group consisted of 20 young professionals working in digital policy for the European Parliament, Commission, Permanent Representations, and a few from private sector and civil society.
Our first meeting was at Level 39, Europe’s largest technology accelerator space for finance, cyber securities, retail and future cities technology companies. It literally occupies the entire 39th floor of a very corporate-looking skyscraper. The lucky techies here enjoy a magnificent view of the ever-growing Canary Wharf area of London, home to the largest global finance institutions. It seems that many of Level 39’s startups have or are on their way to become extremely successful.
The think tank Policy Exchange hosted us for a lunch discussion in their offices next to Westminster. We had a very interesting policy debate with UK government officials, think tanks, as well as startup and industry representatives. We discussed what policies have enabled London to become such a successful hub for startups and what lessons can be learned for the EU. Europe’s data protection reform and the Digital Single Market proposals will set the scene for Europe’s digital economy in years to come.
At Campus London, the cool venue in the heart of the tech hub in East London, we had the opportunity to learn more about the UK startup culture, exchanged on Europe’s striving app-economy, and met with edgy entrepreneurs working campus.
We also had a wonderful and unique discussion with leading tech venture capitalists, Eileen Burbidge and Tak Lo moderated by Coadec’s Executive Director, Guy Levin. We got a better sense of how EU regulations, and especially how a country’s public reputation, can either attract or discourage VCs from investing in startups that create innovation, growth and jobs.
We finished off the day, engaging with techies from around the world over a few pints at the Silicon Drinkabout.
Thanks to CCIA Europe for sponsoring this trip.
No worries if you missed this first-ever YPDP study trip! There will be many more exciting YPDP activities coming up this year!