Innovation in the UK: Our First London Summit in May

Photo by The Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin


For some folks, attending a Lean Startup conference inspires new approaches to their business. For Galway, Ireland entrepreneur David Cunningham, who used The Lean Startup as his handbook for two different ventures, attending our flagship event motivated him to bring a similar innovation forum to Europe. We’re very excited to be partnering with David May 16-18 for his Lean Startup Summit London — a vibrant startup city housing new tech companies from around the world.

The summit is a natural extension of our organization expanding to hit all your needs, from the Enterprise Summit we hosted in New York in February to the extension of our annual conference into Lean Startup Week in October. Our partnership with David, CEO of Beolas, allows us to reach our European community directly and gives everyone the chance to learn from and network with the major players from incredible startups, enterprise companies, and investors hailing from five continents.

There’s only one month left to go before the summit, which will include a digital keynote from Eric Ries, talks from Lean Startup Co.’s own Melissa Moore and Heather McGough, as well as inspirational speakers like Bipin Sahni, head of innovation at Wells Fargo; Susanne Chishti, founder & CEO of FINTECH Circle; Scott Nolan, partner at Founders Fund; and Jeremiah Gardner, principal/author & Brant Cooper, founder/author, both at Moves the Needle. Check out the full speakers list here. Plus they’ll have a StartupExpo with companies involved with fintech, cyber security, smart cities, and tech solutions for retailers.

We asked David to tell us a little more about Lean Startup Summit London as well as the startup community surrounding it.

How would you describe the startup scene in London?

I am based at Level39 in London, which houses 220 companies across three floors in Canary Wharf. It’s a bustling cluster of innovative people. London is on the crest of a huge wave of tech innovation so it’s a very exciting place to be. The city is so accessible from all of Europe and is really well connected with other hotspots such as Berlin, Tel Aviv, and of course my home country, Ireland.

What are the biggest challenges for European enterprise companies when it comes to innovation?

Tradition, fear, and a lack of agility and communication between departments is common but there are quite a few enterprise companies really embracing Lean Startup methodologies. Some have created Lean divisions that act like startups within those organizations. Others have sponsored accelerators and placed their teams of intrapreneurs in the programs and have constant interactions with startups through mentoring.

What about for European startups, what are the issues they struggle with most?

It’s the same as in larger cities in the U.S. There staffing issues with recruiting and retaining great engineers and programmers, together with issues around affordable office and housing accommodations. Then there are the additional problems of navigating paths to funding and keeping the business alive until they get traction and customers.

What is the thread really tying this summit together?

This conference is all about a community that really wants to collaborate, share experiences, and learn from each other. It’s about connecting startups, investors, and enterprise customers to see if we can all benefit.

What’s been the reaction to Lean Startup and other innovation methodologies in Europe?

It is huge — such is the demand that we have interest from sponsors (among other motivators) to bring these events to Berlin and Tel Aviv!

The mission of Lean Startup events is to educate entrepreneurs and corporate innovators, build the global community, and connect you all with one another. Wanna be part of our inaugural European event? Grab a ticket to the Lean Startup Summit London here, and we’ll see you in May!  And don’t forget about Lean Startup Week in San Francisco and our Detroit Startup & Urban Renewal Summit this fall.

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