lol. London does quite a lot of risky financial shit.
Also you might have heard of a little company kicking the shit out of Intel... ARM. Based in Cambridge UK, that is also where most tech investments in Europe are happening (not London or Berlin).
Also, Germany and Switzerland are much more quiet and private about investments. You won't hear about many of them.
These days you can invest in a UK startup, and have the government pick up 100% of the tab if it fails. Not to mention insane tax breaks (100%+) for r&d and for exploiting patents. The UK already has crowd equity.
If you get all your news from YC then you're probably stuck in the silly valley echo chamber.
Don't developers in London get paid crap though? I've heard horror stories about ridiculously low London salaries here on Hackernews. Are the low salaries just because their is a surplus developer talent in the UK?
It really depends on your definition of crap. London dev salaries range from £24k for absolute juniors to £120k+ for the top 2%. Contractors fare substantially better. In my recruiter days I placed a Python developer who had experience with a particular trading system on a contract with a large trading firm. His contract was £1,100 per day for 6 months.
Keep in mind the other notable differences between here and the US such as free health care, a larger number of paid holidays etc.
How much you pay in London really depends on how/where you want to live. It's far cheaper if you're happy to spend an hour or more commuting each way.
I need to earn £50k to cover just childcare costs and the mortgage (looking forward to both of those going down soon). I could sell up and buy a similar property 5 miles away and those costs would both halve. I could sell up and buy a similar property 10 miles away and have no mortgage at all. Neither of those would make us happier as a family (no matter how much I'd love to have no mortgage); we want to live where we're living now, so I just get on with it.
I disagree. We have a handful of senior devs being paid in excess of £70k. There are plenty of non-finance companies paying similar salaries. £80k-£90k is relatively common for a senior developer in London.
Another way to see things is that the US, and especially Silicon Valley, have ridiculously high salaries. I'd say that compared to the rest of Europe, developer salaries in London are probably on the high side.
The service prices (health, education, banking, communications, etc) are generally much lower than in the US, though, so it's hard to get an accurate comparison of cost-of-life.
Please tell me more about "have the government pick up 100% of the tab if it fails". I'm aware of some incubators here and there (which are mostly a way to create artificial markets for well-connected "advisors" and Euro-funded "trainers"), and I know about the new R&D legislation (which is mainly benefiting BigCo, like anything else patent-related), but I don't see how you could drop the whole bill of your private enterprise on the Chancellor.
Exactly, so what it says is if you have 10.000 loss on share-A, and 10.000 capital gain on share-B, then you can set the loss against your gain and not pay tax on that 10k of income. I.e., purely for the share-A you still lose the 10.000 but gain a "tax credit" worth some % [whatever your rate is] of that. A common misunderstanding is that you'd get "tax credit" of 10.000, which you don't.
Yeah, I didn't mean to say it was the sole reason or even a primary reason, but it's a contributing factor. The risk-averse culture (investment and employees), and lack of exemplars of successful entrepreneurs (vs. going into banking, government, etc.) is probably the biggest problem.
I get the general perception top tier Sand Hill VCs are now willing to invest in Series B or later (and some Series A) in Europe. Costs have dropped, even in Europe, so you can get pretty far on $50-100k in savings for a seed round. So the big problem in the long term is probably risk-aversion in hiring, vs. raising money.