At TechCrunch Disrupt London on Tuesday, three of Europe’s biggest names in financial technology discussed why the city of London — particularly compared to places in the US — makes such an attractive prospect for startups that offer financial services.
Damian Kimmelman, CEO of online document look-up service DueDil, said that London has a unique set of factors that mean financial tech startups can thrive. The US is restricted by a complex banking structure, he said, adding that “there’s an abundance of data in London.”
Jeff Lynn, CEO of online crowdfunding site Seedrs, elaborated on why London is the perfect place for startups dealing with money. “There’s now enough digital take-up to build big businesses. And there aren’t many locked-in systems like in the US. You don’t have as much institutional opposition in Europe as you do in the US.”
The co-founder of money transfer startup TransferWise, Taavet Hinrikus, agreed with Lynn, remarking that “the UK is a very heavy early adopter community.”
Seedrs founder Lynn also explained that London is not the only city in Europe that is promising for fintech companies: “There are other places in the world where fintech could be done well. Frankfurt, for example, where tech provides services to banks. But London is uniquely well positioned.”
As well as a favourable banking structure, the assembled fintech entrepreneurs also claimed that Europe is very different when it comes to venture capital. “East Coast VCs aren’t invited to deals on the West Coast, so they’re coming to Europe,” Kimmelman said. “There are so many attractive companies in Europe, they’re cheaper than in the US.”
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