This week in New York, we at UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) have led a Digital Mission of 20 British tech start-ups looking at New York as an international expansion destination. For four days, we’ve connected them with key players in New York’s technology scene, including: like minded-entrepreneurs; potential partners; prospective clients; industry experts; media partners; and even futurologists! Attendees are also participating in IGNITION 2012, an inspiring conference organised by Business Insider.
I joined the group on Wednesday for a session looking at the highs and lows entrepreneurs face when looking to expand. The room was buzzing, and as I walked across the common area, I could hear passionate discussions about the future of mobile payments, making money on the visual web, mobile advertising, the future of gaming, what’s next for apps, and so much more. These 20 participating British start-ups are a terrific reflection of the thriving UK entrepreneurial scene – not just in Europe’s fastest growing tech ecosystem, Tech City, but all across the country. New York-based companies were queuing up (well, “lining up” as it’s said the US) to talk to them, to share ideas and plot potential partnerships.
The more that New York companies heard from the Brits, the more they realised how much in common our ecosystems share, and that we are each other’s logical counterpart when thinking about international growth. Twenty UK companies sounds like a small number, but through them, we are connecting with hundreds of US companies over here this week. I have no doubt that the UK’s success in this sphere will be as much about their potential growth in New York as it will be about US companies looking to expand in the UK. My team in New York – Patricia, Beth, Yuka, Richard, Chloe and Crissy – have done an amazing job to make this week’s Digital Mission a total success. Thanks guys!
The UKTI team at the British Consulate spends a lot of time talking about the vibrant and dynamic environment in the UK that spurs the phenomenal growth of its start-up scene. This week, I’ve witnessed companies showcase the best of the UK with such verve that they’ve left their US audiences wanting to hear more. Challenge accepted!