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It's not the lack of invetors and VCs in Europe - it is the lack of ability to invest in RISKY companies - the very definition of "startup".

European investors are just bankers (with a few exceptions).




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.

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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?

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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.

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Yeah, that's definitely a possible rate. A high end one though. I think contract rates for Python devs average around 500/day ($772 USD). Base salary seems to average at 45-50k.

Also bonuses. Bonuses in London can be 100% of salary or more.

National health insurance is not really free in the UK... but UK contractors pay less tax than US ones generally. German freelancers get paid more, but pay more tax (and get more holidays).

Developers outside of London can earn less, but many prefer it.

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And a much higher cost of living...in London its insane.

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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.

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100+k only really applies for people who work in finance... it's pretty hard to crack 60-70k as a salaried employee.

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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.

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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.

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UK Developers seem to have no idea what they are worth, and work for peanuts. IMHO.

The varied answers you get about London salaries is because the financial industry pays pretty well, competitive with SV or NY money. Everyone else gets paid peanuts. Or goes contracting like me.

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I was speaking to a Welsh comp-sci grad who was moving to London to be a programmer, for £19,000 p.a.

There's something mysterious about the low wages for programmers.

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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.

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If you invest under a certain threshold you can actually deduct the full amount from taxes in case of failure. Don't recall the details, but it makes for a pretty sweet deal for angel investors.

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If it's fully tax deductible, then you simply don't pay tax on that amount (not reduce your payable tax by that). It saves you about a third of the money, but doesn't make it risk-free.

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I was thinking about the EIS scheme. There's some explanation here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_Investment_Scheme

I believe the most important part is this:

If EIS shares are disposed of at any time at a loss, such loss can be set against the investor's capital gains or his income in the year of disposal.

So basically, if you take a loss, you can deduct it against any other gains you have.

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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.

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