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Is London still a hotspot for cleantech investment post Brexit?

Ahead of Ecosummit London next month, we talked to Founder and CEO Jan Michael Hess about whether the prospect of Brexit will effect cleantech investment in the capital.

London might be a capital investment mecca now but could Brexit mark the end for Ecosummit in London?

“Right now all things are still imaginable but my current thinking is that we keep doing events in London irrespective of Brexit.

There are still too many important people here, you still have a lot of investors here and a lot of UK start-ups, utilities and corporates and they will continue to be here even if Brexit happens.

Also because of the cultural connections, London has always been the bridge to the US. Americans are generally more comfortable dealing with London ahead of continental Europe and we know American companies that want to develop strategies into Europe go through London.

It’s important for us to have a long-term strategy and we don’t believe in going in and out. A start-up company should take on the target market and decide to stay, as long as the competition doesn’t kill you!”

Has the Brexit vote already made it harder for prospective cleantech companies in the UK?

“After the vote a lot of the discussion has been mainly speculation and it’s true that is not really creating a positive business atmosphere for start-ups.

Some banks have discussed leaving London but in the start-up environment the banks don’t play such an important role. Perhaps for those that move into an IPO opportunity sure, but those are very few. You still need to travel around and meet the investors and, as of today, there’s still a critical mass of investors based here in London.

It’s also important to highlight that all the London-based investors are not just investing in Europe but many are investing capital around the world because London-based investors have that worldwide perspective. It makes it easy to get that global perspective when you come to London, we don’t have that same approach in Berlin.” 

How is the London event shaping up?

“We now have a number of start-ups from across Europe coming to London, wanting to pitch and find partners for the UK market and to find connections. So far we have around 40 pitches, from Germany, France, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Estonia and Israel, so it looks like these start-ups still believe in the UK too.

We’ve done the event three times in The Crystal building at the Royal Victoria Docks, the building of Siemens. It’s been great but this year we’ve decided to go more towards the city centre for the event to be more accessible for the important people in the city.

For Ecosummit, London is the place to be and will remain the place to be.”

Jan meets Life Size Media in Jago London
Jan pops into Second Home for lunch with the Life Size Media team.

How to get involved

Ecosummit is Europe’s premier event connecting promising cleantech start-ups and investors armed with capital to make their business dreams a reality.

Ecosummit London happens on 11 October 2016 at CodeNode, Skills Matter, 10 South Place, London, EC2M 7EB, GB in the heart of Tech City.

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