£4.4 billion outside the Big Smoke to be preciseOne fast-growing fintech that secured a valuable form of funding outwith London is Encompass Corporation, a company which is part of the £4.4 billion boom. It offers Know Your Customer (KYC) automation software for the banking, finance, legal and accountancy sectors. Comittted to RegTech, the firm is running a seminar on the new innovation, and will be speaking at the Business Information Industry Associate (BIIA) annual conference panel on RegTech this year. Roger Carson, its co-founder, explains why other UK regions are a magnet for tech startups.
He enthuses: “The wealth of UK tech talent, generous incentives and tax breaks by the UK government, plus generous funding schemes from many UK cities have contributed to tech hubs emerging in Cambridge, Oxford, Scotland, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff and elsewhere.”This, he believes, has contributed to making the UK an attractive proposition for tech and fintech startups and investors alike, with many delivering huge growth of M&A activity in the UK’s tech sector over the past few years. And this is now made even more possible thanks to the new specialist Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneurial Spark fintech hub in Edinburgh. Likewise, the UK can prove the ideal launch pad for breaking into the North American market, the holy grail for any tech entrepreneur, he reasons.
But it’s not all a bed of roses, reckons Roger. He says: “The challenge is getting a tech or fintech startup off the ground in the first place. As someone who’s secured significant funding in Scotland, what advice would I give to tech startups looking to secure crucial investment outside of the M25? And what are the benefits of being located in other regions or along with London?”
It’s not just what you know, it’s where you go…With the costs of setting up in London quite steep for many young companies, other cities are not only considerably competitive, but offer attractive financial incentives as well.
Roger adds: “The UK’s large number of university towns and cities enables startups to benefit from a well-educated workforce. For us, Glasgow was ideal both for the programmes offered by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Investment Bank and the local talent. Plus, Scotland is a market in itself.”