Tech Hot 100: How ‘exiles from the crash’ built a £184bn-a-year-industry

Interviewing the Centre’s director, Matt Smith, The Telegraph outlines the UK’s rise to startup nation status since the financial crisis. Interviewing the Centre’s director, Matt Smith, the publication outlines several shifts in the last decade.

That crisis produced a generation of financial professionals with an appetite for new ventures. Many had seen promising young careers dashed on the rocks, and now wanted to work for themselves, in some cases hoping to fix a system that had proved broken. In the 10 years since, the ideas, dealmaking, ambition and grit of these exiles from the crash have created a raft of exciting UK start-ups. “It did two things,” Varma says of the crash. “It scorched the earth for us – there was no going back – and it made us a lot more disciplined.”

But the financial crash is not the whole story. Several other trends fell into place for these UK entrepreneurs. The smartphone revolution helped put the internet into billions of pockets. In 2008 there were only a few hundred apps on Apple’s App Store. Now there are almost 2 million. Start-ups gracing our list from Monzo to Bulb have benefitted from the app revolution.

In the UK, the coalition government also pushed hard into pro-founder programmes. “The cult of the entrepreneur was starting to take hold,” says Matt Smith, founder of the Centre for Entrepreneurs. Government moves included offering tax breaks to founders, while a generation of angel investors, many of whom had themselves benefited from the first dotcom boom, were starting to pick out their next bets, and pumped cash into the start-up scene.

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