I’ve been in London for only a short period but I’ve already met with dozens of people from the various corners of the local start-up scene. It’s clear the ingredients necessary to build a thriving startup community are in place. Sparks are flying as companies form, events take place every night, and the promise of what’s been dubbed ‘Tech City’ and the more original ‘Silicon Roundabout’ takes shape. Still, it’s clear few major European success stories have emerged in the past few years to compare with Skype’s $2.6 billion exit to Ebay in 2005, leaving many people asking if European startups need something more to fan the flames. Perhaps hoping to do just that Prince Andrew, Duke of York, visited Clerkenwell’s White Bear Yard this week to lead a roundtable discussion with several startup CEOs. Prince Andrew’s visit was part of a wider planned tour of East London, and the Prince was accompanied by Eric van der Kliej of United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI), CEO of the ‘Tech City Investment Organisation’. The discussion primarily covered the challenges and needs of local startups, and founders were repeatedly asked, “What do you need? What is the fuel that will help take this self-sustaining community to the next level? How do we help you grow?” As YCombinator founder Paul Graham wrote in his recent essay Why Startups Hubs Work:
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