London recently came in at No. 2 on a list that ranked cities across the globe on how conducive their policies are to the growth of tech startups and other entrepreneurial ventures.
The City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship report, which was put together by British innovation capacity-building charity Nesta in collaboration with Future Cities Catapult and management consultancy Accenture, declared New York City to be the top locale for pro-startup policy-making. London was the first runner-up, only narrowing missing out on the top spot. It was followed by Helsinki, which came as a surprise to some industry observers, while Barcelona and Amsterdam rounded out the top five.
Open data proved a positive differentiator
So, what elements resulted in London’s high score? As Wired noted, the facts that the city was ahead of the curve in terms of embracing the open data trend by making municipal information available to the masses was a big contributor. Cited by the news source, John Gibson, director of government innovation at Nesta and co-author of the study, observed that the availability of this type of data made it possible for lucrative ventures like Citymapper to spring up. Citymapper is an app that taps into static and live data made available through the government body Transport for London, helping users navigate the city with ease and avoid trouble spots such as parts of the London Underground that are experiencing delays. It has since expanded to other cities.