I like Mike Lynch. Dodgy accounting practices aside, he has done a lot for raising the profile of the UK technology innovation and putting us (not quite but almost) on an equal footing with US peers. Whether that was as the co-founder of B2B information management company Autonomy or for his support in developing Cambridge as the UK’s first Silicon something.
Lynch was recently quoted in this piece in the Daily Telegraph saying that the UK markets fail to foster fledgling UK tech companies. Lynch claims that that despite the creation of tech centric hubs in the UK, only one UK technology company featured in the FTSE100 – Sage, which is bad news for our economy.
Lynch goes on to identify that tech companies are more likely to float on the US Nasdaq than on the London markets. I would argue however that was what Nasdaq was created for – technology listings rather than US specific ones.
It’s not a problem unique to us Brits either. The US still continues to dominate when it comes to funding, buyouts and flotations. As technology PR specialists, we recently worked with an amazing US start up who works in the online collaboration space. What is interesting is that while the company is Silicon Valley based the co-founder is French. He told that me that it was necessary to locate himself and the business in San Fran to attract the funding he needed to build out a successful start up (this isn’t his first).
So are we doing anything to overcome the issue or do we need to accept our secondary market position for creating start ups here? Well we’ve already created technology hubs in London and in Cambridge, our skills are second to none, and even Lynch recognises the high standard of UK universities in encouraging early enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit. He even went on to say that Britain’s technology fundamentals were “the envy of the world.” But while the conditions are right for a new wave of British tech entrepreneurs are the investors and markets still a little wary? Only time will tell if the backing is available to create the next Sage or Autonomy.