Google Won’t Reopen Its COVID-Shuttered UK Campus For Startups

Google Won’t Reopen Its COVID-Shuttered UK Campus For Startups

June 21, 2021 at 07:18PM

Google is permanently closing the doors of its Google for Startups (GFS) Campus in London. That and other such campuses were shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Since then, Google said, it has gone on to serve U.K. startups virtually — despite the crisis. In an announcement, the company said that, during the pandemic, it has supported more than 50 startups across the U.K. and conducted trainings for more than 1,300 entrepreneurs. Despite the crisis, startups in its “European community continued growing, created almost 16,000 jobs, and raised 10 percent more than they did in the year before — over $2.5 billion,” the firm said.

While the campus is closing, Google said, its U.K. team will continue with its programming — which will take place both remotely and in-person. The campus was set up in 2012 when “London needed the space for serendipitous meetings, mentoring, events, and hackathons, to contribute to what’s now become the third-largest global startup ecosystem.”

In recent years, the U.K. startup scene has boomed. “The U.K. now joins the list of highly developed startup ecosystems alongside the U.S. and Germany, where Google for Startups operates with a team of startup experts without a physical building,” per the release.

Google’s startup campuses have included offices in Tel Aviv, Madrid, Seoul, Warsaw, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

The U.K. tech industry hit a major milestone on Thursday (June 17), with 100 tech firms in the country attaining “unicorn” status by reaching a valuation of at least $1 billion.

“Smashing through this milestone cements the U.K.’s place as one of the world’s top tech hubs,” said Oliver Dowden, the country’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport. His announcement, citing data from Tech Nation and Dealroom, named Tractable the country’s 100th tech unicorn.

The artificial intelligence (AI) startup had received an additional $60 million in venture capital. Tractable is developing computer vision technology.

The U.K.’s tech industry pulled in almost $8 billion in funding at the beginning of the year, following a record-breaking $15 billion in 2020.