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US Start Up Accelerator TechStars Comes To London’s Tech City

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Tech City attracts a world leading entrepreneur nursery

On Wednesday morning, TechStars, one of the world’s most successful start up accelerators, has announced it will open its first non-US programme in London’s Tech City.

In March, the company will merge with UK’s Springboard accelerator, and is expected to support around 20 start ups every year across the UK, Europe and “further afield” through an investment of up to €85,000 (£73,900) in each.

The news was announced at a meeting at 10 Downing Street, chaired by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, and attended by TechStars CEO David Cohen and Springboard co-founder Jon Bradford.

The special relationship

In March, TechStars will launch its first 13-week mentorship-driven programme in the UK. Ten carefully selected start ups will each get backing worth up to €85,000, including €15,000 of seed funding and an optional €70,000 convertible debt note.

Left to right: Mark Solon, Ed Vaizey, David Cohen and Jon Bradford

The accelerator already has a strong track record working with European teams, with their alumni including Memrise (UK), GrabCAD (Estonia) and docTrackr (France), who have cumulatively raised £14 million of investment funds.

In the US, TechStars’ past successes include cloud email company SendGrid which raised over $27 million in funding, Graphic.ly, a digital graphic novel platform that got $4.2 million and Next Big Sound, music analytics platform that has so far received backing worth $7.5 million.

According to TechStars, 90 percent of companies graduating from the accelerator are active and profitable.

“We’ve had our eye on the burgeoning London tech scene for some time, well aware the US doesn’t have a monopoly on either tech skills or entrepreneurship. The current business climate here means we can work with an incredibly broad spectrum of British and international teams and top talent,” said David Cohen, CEO and founder of TechStars.

“Coming together with TechStars makes perfect sense,” commented Jon Bradford, CEO and co-founder of Springboard. “Springboard and TechStars have long had a natural affinity, not least because of our shared mentor-led approach.”

The move comes just two years after the government had set up the Tech City Investment Organisation, in order to help attract inward investment and make London “the digital capital of Europe”.

According to Tech City spokesperson, arrival of TechStars shows the effectiveness of measures taken by the government to boost the technology sector, such as tax relief for the creative industries and Entrepreneur Visas.

“Today’s announcement shows Tech City is fulfilling its potential as one of the world’s great technology centres. With such an ambitious package of policies, incentives and visa support, the UK is amongst the best places in the world to start and grow a business,” said Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City Investment Organisation and UK Business Ambassador.

Applications for TechStars London open on 16 March 2013. Entrepreneurs will be able to register their interest on the website.

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