As most of us know, Silcon Valley in San Francisco California, has provided the tech and digital industry framework upon which many other cities have used to create their own areas of startups.
One of these is Tech City in the east end of London and although it isn’t anywhere near as expansive as Silicon Valley, there’s no denying that it’s every bit as innovative and full of opportunity. For example, industry leaders from the Valley are now beginning to work closely with startups from London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ to make connections with people who are genuinely talented in this sector.
A look around this so-called Silicon Roundabout will show you that there are many powerhouses of industry with London headquarters, as the likes of Facebook and Google have set up shop as part of Tech City.
According to Best The News, London and San Francisco are two of the biggest destinations for global tech talent, which is an important milestone for London to have achieved.
However, there are aspects in which one is better than the other and it’s only through working closely together that these two can really become a joined unstoppable force in the technological world.
Some of these include…
Every smart businessperson – particularly one who has their expertise in the digital and tech industries – knows that to get a startup off the ground, you need funding.
This may be small, or it may be massive, but the reality is that you require something to get you started and it’s important to remember that you should ask for more than you need, in case of unexpected costs or errors. You should do this because if you don’t factor this in, you could find yourself stuck and unable to get any other funding that you desperately require.
Every startup business is just crying out for capital and we know that you know a really great idea isn’t enough without the funding to help it grow.
This is where San Francisco currently has more maturity than London, as it’s home to more investor dollars per square mile than any other place in the world. In this way, it’s not necessarily to the detriment of London that it receives less funding, this is due to the sheer size of San Francisco and the fact that there are a lot of investors either living in the Silicon Valley area, or interested in getting involved with projects there – because there’s so many to choose from.
It’s always been the case that if you want to make it in the tech world in America, you should get yourself to the west coast of the country. Take Google, Amazon, Apple and Uber as your examples, each one of these businesses has grown up in this part of California.
Unfortunately, some still believe that London is still recovering from the dot com bust many years ago – but there are plenty of people out there who are happy to prove this wrong.
The UK FinTech market has seen a rapid rise over the past couple of years and it’s making US investors sit up and take notice of them.
And let’s not forget that Britain is still the country of choice in which little companies with big ideas set up their offices, with London as the place at the top of the list.
Talent on both sides
This is where things begin to balance out, as talent is rich on both continents when it comes to the tech industry. California – particularly Silicon Valley – is overflowing with tech talent and the buzz in the air is so thick you can practically touch it.
Graduates from Ivy League colleges are queuing up to join the Silicon Valley revolution, previous leavers from Stanford for example, are the people behind the launches of Google, Snapchat and Paypal.
Perhaps one thing that makes things different however, is that Americans tend not to see defeated ideas or companies as failures. Instead, they’re seen as lessons to learn from and improve upon, which is a less frequent thought process in Britain.
However, jobs in Silicon Valley can be incredibly hard to come across and the people who go for those positions don’t undervalue themselves. Their average starting salaries are much higher than at tech companies in London, but a large part of this is thanks to their expensive college degrees!
London’s Silicon Roundabout is becoming a more attractive proposition from a regulatory point of view. When Tech City was launched in the East End, as a view to rivalling Silicon Valley, everything from tax breaks to training helped to push the plan ahead.
The financial industry has benefitted greatly from this as a result and there was a massive amount of work put in to ensure that all the firms at the roundabout were regulation-fit.
However, due to the Brexit vote – in which Britain has elected to leave the EU – this will undoubtedly cause some financial stability in this area of London.
It’s hoped that these firms won’t have to relocate to central Europe, but it will be a case of watching what happens over the next two years very closely to see if Silicon Roundabout changes much due to the voters’ decision.
Overall, you can have a very similar lifestyle in San Francisco, as you can in London when you work in either of these Silicon areas.
The benefits with the work are great, as you can expect higher than average salaries and a range of extra perks and possible equity stakes that other firms don’t offer their employees quite so readily.
What this means is that employees in these areas tend to have a decent amount of disposable income with which to enjoy their lives, or at least to make themselves feel secure. And being based in either San Francisco or London with a good amount of money is a great thing, because there’s certainly plenty to entertain.
In terms of looks, London usually draws more aesthetic comparisons with the likes of New York, thanks to it’s centralised parks, booming theatre and fashion districts and late-night lifestyle.
Contrastingly, San Francisco is surrounded by state parks and Pacific Ocean beaches that are just a few miles away from the Valley. Having said that, Brighton is just a short train away from London, if you do fancy a little trip to the sea – expect the beach to be pebbles and not sand though!
Also, it’s fair to say that the weather is infinitely better in California, what with all of its summer sunshine. Plus, you have the added advantage of heading up into the mountains to go skiing during staggered parts of the year, so there’s definitely advantages to living stateside.
However, London has a much more exciting music and arts culture scene, thanks to the likes of the Tate and the National Gallery. Also – since we mentioned weather – it turns out that London is no more or less rainy than New York, so that’s something for you to keep in mind!
If living costs are what you are concerned about, then London is the clear winner, it streaks ahead for affordability over San Francisco, as it has recently been named as the most expensive city in the world.
So there you have it, whether you’re heading to Silicon Valley or Silicon Roundabout, the differences between the two really make them much of a muchness!