Adam Neumann and Sadiq Khan Are Building the NYC-London Connection
You wouldn’t think London would need to incentivize tech and financial services companies to come across the pond, considering it's one of the world's biggest economic hubs. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan came to WeWork’s NYC HQ to declare that London remains “open for business,” regardless of Brexit.
Sadiq reminded the crowd our world has grown smaller with new technologies, and the potential of what’s possible in business has shifted dramatically.
“You can start a business with people you’ll never meet,” he said.
But, this interconnectivity comes with a lot of uncertainties, and he’s doing everything he can to make sure London’s accessibility to new businesses remains.
The mayor and Gordon Innes (pictured)—CEO of London & Partners, the mayor of London’s promotional company—frequently brought up NYC and London’s similarities, from the two cities' status as tech hubs, their sizable “hipster” demographic and even the popularity of WeWork.
“We need to be thinking about the next steps in this partnership,” Gordon said.
With the city’s access to finance, rich talent pool, favorable time zones, cultural diversity and lack of a language barrier, London seems to have all the elements needed to help a business expand, a sentiment made clear throughout the morning.
WeWork chief cultural officer Jennifer Berrent (left) noted the two metropolises simply have more culture than anywhere else—making them attractive to talent and catalysts for innovation. Decoded CEO Kathryn Parsons (second from right) said London’s supportive environment couldn’t be understated.
“People will go out of their way to connect you to executives or investors, or maybe even invest themselves,” she said. According to a recent study, London is indeed the leading city for foreign direct investment to NYC, as well as the leading global city for investment from the US, with US businesses investing $30.9B and creating 70,100 jobs between 2005 and 2015.
This collaboration is something London Deputy Mayor Rajesh Agrawal (second from left) wants to see even more of, but may already be possible, considering London’s open community and like-minded businesses within walking distance of each other.
WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, who told the crowd that we’re living in a new generation—Generation We—that’s not limited by race, gender, creed or even an ocean. Recalling a trip to London he took with his grandmother, Adam told Sadiq how emotionally and formative London was to him.
Adam then said WeWork would continue to invest in the city with two more locations—one in Covent Garden and the other in Hackney. The co-working giant will also partner with The Entrepreneur Network to establish Mission Possible, which helps mission-oriented startups get off the ground with financing, office space and other forms of support.
Following the event, the mayor joined several London-based female entrepreneurs at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.