We’re closing Campus to support startups throughout the UK. In the nearly 10 years since we opened the first Google for Startups (GFS) Campus in London, we’ve seen different ways in which our seven-story building near "Silicon Roundabout" could best serve our community. Back in 2012, founders, VCs, and community leaders in London needed the space for serendipitous meetings, mentoring, events, and hackathons, to contribute to what’s now become the third-largest global startup ecosystem. Since then we’ve run countless programs for growth-stage startups, served as a home for partner organizations such as TechHub, Seedcamp, and Code First Girls, and brought the ambitious founders from less developed startup ecosystems to the space to learn and connect to resources, talent, and money available in London.
But the biggest experiment came when COVID-19 forced us to close the doors of our Campuses around the world and help startups virtually. We faced the challenge alongside our community— pivoting our programs and reinventing our core offerings to better serve startups when they needed us the most. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have supported more than 50 startups from across the UK in our high-touch programs and delivered training to more than 1,300 entrepreneurs. Despite the crisis, startups in our European community continued growing, created almost 16,000 jobs, and raised 10% more than they did in the year before—over $2.5 billion.
This shift demonstrated that, similar to the support we provide in other advanced startup ecosystems like the US and Germany, we can provide support for startups right across the country without a physical space. We are therefore opening a new chapter for our work in the UK, and we will not be reopening our Campus in London. The GFS UK team will continue delivering programming, remotely and in-person, bringing the best of Google’s people, products and best practices to startups across the UK and beyond.
Why? As the British startup ecosystem has matured, so have the needs of its entrepreneurs. Much has changed since 2012. Today’s founders in London are part of a vibrant ecosystem of 250+ coworking spaces, 35+ accelerators, corporate programs, and thousands of startups providing services to each other. The UK now receives 36% of all investment in tech in Europe, and is home to the largest number of engineers and startups, as well as a third of European unicorns. The UK startup community doesn't need access to a single-shared physical space as much as it needs access to resources, mentors, and programs available at scale, anywhere.
And so as the ecosystem develops, so does our approach to supporting startups in the UK:
- We will continue delivering value and education at scale with Startup School
- We will be supporting startups from across the UK (like our UK program in 2020)
- We will continue connecting startups from less developed ecosystems to the resources, talent, and venture capital in the UK (like our UK-Africa program in 2019)
- And working with underrepresented founders, especially women and founders of color, across Europe through our programs and initiatives like the $2M Black Founders Fund
- Finally, UK startups will continue having access to our regional programs like the Healthtech Accelerator program (applications are open until August 23rd)
The UK now joins the list of highly developed startup ecosystems alongside the US and Germany where Google for Startups operates with a team of startup experts without a physical building. We’re proud of the important role that Campus London played in the UK tech ecosystem over the past decade and look forward to building on this impact:
- $1.8 billion+ raised by startups in the Google for Startups Campus and partner network in the UK since 2015
- 11,000+ UK jobs created by startups in our network
- 1,000+ community-building events held to strengthen local tech ecosystems
- 27,000+ entrepreneurs participated in on-site community-building events
Our approach to supporting startup communities around the world, and leveling the playing field for all founders to succeed, is one that we tailor to each community we work with through our programs, our global partner network, and our other six Campus spaces. We look forward to continuing to serve local startup communities as they go from strength to strength as Google for Startups UK.