Next week will see applications close for the Million Pound Startup competition. Branded as the world’s largest start-up competition, the winner will be given £1m in funding, support from KPMG, PR advice and a place in London’s Tech City.
Cash is to come from the coffers of business angels and crowdfunding platform Seedrs. But, perhaps more valuable to the lucky winner will be the financial and PR advice provided as well as entry into London’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Led by Digital Shoreditch, the nearby group that organises meetups and workshops, the competition has seen applications pour in from 51 countries across the globe. Its organisers intend to propel the winner to a £100m startup within 5 years.
But is this figure realistic for a newborn company, or a bit pie in the sky? Well, a glance at the growth of Finnish games company Supercell suggests it is even a little conservative. Founded in 2011, the games maker was valued at a stonking $770m at it’s last round of venture capital funding. The firm is growing faster than Facebook.
Closer to home, there has been a gold rush towards taxi apps such as Hailo. The firm launched in 2011 and claimed to have generated $100m in one twelve month period.
The usual secret to success is immersion in an ecosystem such as Shoreditch, a stone’s throw from Perseverance Works. Think of it as cross-pollination, where proximity to other entrepreneurs allows for innovation at the water cooler. And its contagious; a recent study showed that more start-ups were created around Silicon Roundabout last year than in any other region in the UK. The odds are, one of them will be successful. Perhaps not such a bold aim after all.