UK home to more startup programmes than anywhere else in Europe

Startup incubators and accelerators are cropping up across Britain at an explosive rate, according to report out from Telefonica/O2.

The research, dubbed The Rise of the UK Accelerator and Incubator System, revealed that over half of the programmes currently operating in the UK were spawned in the past three years, meaning that the UK now has more startup programmes than any other European country.

Techworldacknowledged this trend in May and questioned whether the UK needed anymore incubators and accelerators.

The report out this week suggests that the surge of business incubators and accelerators correlates with the strong growth that Britain’s tech sector has seen in recent years.

The vast majority (61 percent) of these programmes - which typically offer workspace, mentoring and several thousand pounds in funding in return for an equity stake - are based in London.

As a result, the report suggests that many of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs are flocking to the capital in their droves, despite the higher living costs.

However, the regions could soon close the gap, with cities such as Edinburgh and Birmingham doubling the number of programmes they have in place over the last year.

Wales and Northern Ireland are yet to see incubators and accelerators really take off.

The report also reveals that there has been a significant increase in the number of coporate accelerators and incubators, with the likes of John Lewis, Barclays and Red Bull entering the market.

Commenting on the report, Feilim Mackle, O2’s sales & service director said: "Having set up the Wayra London Academy over two years ago, we have seen first-hand the advantages of acceleration; more than $28.6 million has been raised for Wayra’s companies.

"But it isn’t just the startups that benefit, by fostering and investing in these startups, we as a big business are able to learn from them and also bring the best products and services to our customers."

Incubators and accelerators in the UK often focus on growing startups working in a particular vertical. For example, Canary Wharf's Level39 accelerator is well known for supporting fintech startups, while The Trampery has a new facility that it has developed in conjunction with London and Partners, the Mayor of London's promo office, specifically for traveltech companies.

Many of the UK's accelerators are aiming to emulate the success that Silicon Valley's Y-Combinator has had with companies like Airbnb and Dropbox.

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