Why does Google invest in startups in the UK?

If you live in London, you have a big idea and you want to become “the next big thing“, Campus London is the place for you. This not-for-profit Google initiative celebrated its first anniversary on April 22nd 2013.

Image credit: Campus London

Campus London Image credit: Campus London

Campus London

With a strong vision that said “let’s fill this town with startups”, Campus London has an atmosphere that foster creativity and success.

“It is an open source building, located in east London in Tech City, that provides entrepreneurs three basic things: Space, mentorship and community”, says Eze Vidra, Head of Campus. In just one year, it has reached 10,000 members and hosted around 850 events attracting more than 60,000 guests. 

In an interview given by TechBritainTV, Eze Vidra explained that Campus follows the same business model as Android, offering a free platform for young entrepreneurs to develop their projects. Although, they would like to launch many more campuses around the world, Campus is still “a new thing for Google” and only time will tell the viability of this project.

Why does Google invest in startups in the UK?

“Google started in a garage and campus is providing a much better garage” said Eze Vidra. Google was a startup itself and wants to enable young entrepreneurs to flourish and grow, however others inherent aspects of Google and of its relations to the UK’s government gives us new perspectives.

First, according to the International Business Times, in 2011, the Public Accounts Committee considered that Google’s tax receipt of £6 million was too low and judged Google’s tax arrangements as immoral. Campus London was an argument that Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, used to show that Google is helping the UK economy, hence legitimising its presence.

Second, Google goes hand in hand with startups. According to The Verge, in 2011, Google “bought up 25 companies, one every two weeks”. More than just acquiring them, ”Google has created an environment that allows these founders to maintain a large degree of autonomy” said Somesh Dash, a principle at the tech investment firm IVP. Startups are part of Google’s DNA, providing fresh inspiration for their business, hence, it is coherent that Google invests in them.

Overall, Campus offers a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to grow and to develop their projects, revolving around three key elements: space, community and mentorship. It is also enabling Google to legitimise their presence in the UK and to have an edge over the startup scene there. 

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