Ed Vaizey: The ‘Silicon Valley Of Europe’ Already Exists

Minister for the digital economy Ed Vaizey says UK tech has the infrastructure and skills but not enough money – but that’s not the government’s fault, he claims

Added Investment

Salesforce Ventures, Salesforce’s investment arm, announced today that it has already invested in ten companies inside of EMEA, following its announcement last year of the plan to invest $100 million (£69m) into European startups.

“It’s a really important part of our growth strategy,” said Gavin Mee, area vice president for enterprise at Salesforce. “What we really bring is that we bring a lot of access for those companies to our ecosystem and our partner environment. It gives them the step up at they really need to be successful by having the Salesforce brand behind them.”

ed vaizey at pivotal london 2014 © PeterJudgeSalesforce Ventures revealed three of the startups it has ploughed money into this year: AI CRM vendor DigitalGenius, customer care company NewVoiceMedia, and management platform vendor Qubit.

“Startups in the tech economy I think get quite significant support from the government through Tech City, which is a very good organisation. When we originally set it up in 2010 I was a bit skeptical of what it could do, but actually I’ve obviously I’ve become a convert,” Vaizey said.

“It provides a very porous relationship with the government, so tech companies can raise their concerns and have a proper dialogue with the government about issues where we can bring in potential reforms. Also, championing tech companies and encouraging them to scale up and grow in the UK, are all factors that Tech City plays a big role in.” he added.

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On the topic of the ongoing debate over the government’s Investigatory Powers bill, Vaizey said that there needs to be a conversation on how the tech community can balance security privacy and encryption.

“In terms of the Investigatory Power Act, we’ve had this debate now in terms of encryption and security for quite a while now, and I do often say that to the tech community that it’s not a binary debate. It’s not you either are pro-security or pro-encryption,” he said.

“It’s perfectly possible to have a debate where as tech people we push a particular agenda and we support encryption in the UK but as citizens we also understand the need for the security services to have the tools to keep us safe. I want to have a conversation with the tech community going forward on the best way to achieve that.”

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