Appnovation Featured in Financial Post

June 18, 2012
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Appnovation Featured in Financial Post

Appnovation has been featured in a Financial Post article on start-ups and expansion.

Read the full article here. 

From The Financial Post:

London lures Canadian tech startups with tax incentives, grants


It’s the “Silicon Valley of [insert country name here].”

The promise of billion-dollar exits and splashy stock offerings have long lured tech entrepreneurs to the southern San Francisco Bay area and prompted other metropolitan areas to try to create their own innovation-based sectors.

Tech City in east London, England, is one such example and some Canadian startups looking to tap into larger markets are bypassing the original Valley and instead heading east across the Atlantic.

Tech City didn’t materialize entirely by accident: It had some help from government department U.K. Trade and Investment (UKTI) through the Tech City Investment Organization.

Trevor Novak, director of investment for UKTI in Canada, said the cluster, which developed around a fledgling tech community in an area formerly dubbed Silicon Roundabout, grew organically, although the agency did “seed it with money.”

As of December, it claimed 774 tech and digital creative businesses and the area is home to startups, multinationals such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Google Inc., a network of incubators and venture capital investors including Accel Partners and Index Ventures.

Mr. Novak works with Canadian companies to help them sort out the details of setting up shop in the United Kingdom including getting incorporated, finding office space, applying for research and development tax credits and linking up with universities to recruit workers.

“This year alone we’ve probably worked with 50 Canadian companies,” he said, and several have established offices in Tech City.

“We’re not into stealing companies,” he said. “We look for companies that are looking to enter other markets and expand.”

Meanwhile, Vancouver entrepreneur Arnold Leung said his five-year-old company, Appnovation Technologies, will add a third office (it has a second location in Atlanta) in Britain, including sales and research and development.

Mr. Leung said a central part of the decision to set up in London was to expand the company’s existing relationship with partners such as Acquia Inc. and Alfresco Software Inc., both of which have major operations in the United Kingdom.

Those partners provide the software that Appnovation customizes to build applications, websites and corporate Internet systems for its clients.

So far the company, which has about 55 employees, has done most of its development work in Vancouver, but with the significant difference in time zones between Canada’s west coast and London, he said the company will need developers on site in London as well.

“We’re moving to the U.K. because there’s a strong demand for websites,” he said. “There’s a massive gap, especially on the app development side.”