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August 9, 2013

Oxygen Accelerator joins rivals in the capital

As a startup bootcamp moves from Birmingham to London, who is going to give new firms outside Tech City the boost to make them attractive to investors?

By Cbr Rolling Blog

London is increasingly the centre of attention for startups and investors – just about every entrepreneur out there seems to be arriving in Old Street looking around for digs and some office space.

And now four bootcamps are based in the capital too. With Tech Stars, Seed Camp and Wayra already based in the city, rival Oxygen Accelerator has now joined them, and will be working out of Google’s Shoreditch offices.

While CBR is due to speak with CEO Simon Jenner about the move from Birmingham, he said on Twitter yesterday: "[It’s] been in the planning for a while."

When asked if London is a more stimulating environment than Birmingham for entrepreneurs, he responded: "not sure about that just different and working from Google is good."

So far so vague. But behind the politic tweets, is there a deeper story?

Cities outside London like Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle and indeed Birmingham trying to get their own tech scenes going could well only be successful to a point.

All have great universities and admirable transport links, not to mention cheaper costs for firms trying to keep their bills down, but they lack London’s international reputation and subsequent sway over VCs and investment firms.

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For that reason, will the companies hoping to get capital have to move to the capital? At a press event last night, a fellow journalist based in Manchester told me that he thinks Newcastle is the up and coming tech scene.

What any of these UK tech scenes needs to get noticed is to build up a critical mass of startups, to create enough of a buzz that investors decide the train journey is worth their time.

But with most accelerators based in London, who’s going to give the startups the boost they need to start getting investors’ attention?

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