Screendragon Joins Mayor of London on US Trade Mission
Screendragon was lucky enough to be part of a delegation of 23 high-performing London tech companies to join the Mayor of London on an international trade mission in the U.S. this month. The main focus of the mission was to explore opportunities to expand and export to the US market as well as to look to secure extra investment.
Prior to the seven-day trade mission, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, summed up the objective of the trip perfectly by saying: “London is one of the most vibrant and diverse places in the world to start and grow a technology business. These high growth companies have the potential to become the next global tech giants and I am delighted that they will join me in showing the world that London is open to talent, business and collaborations.”
Jan Quant, Screendragon CEO and Co-Founder, was there to represent the Screendragon team. He travelled from London to Chicago to New York and back, soaking up many valuable insights and learnings from the experience.
Hear about his main highlights from the seven-day trade mission here.
Chicago Highlights by Jan Quant
The Windy City was the first port of call for the delegation. On day two of the trip we ventured to The Mill, a well established visual effects and creative content business in Chicago. It was in fact the first British visual effects business to open shop in the States, starting with New York and Los Angeles, and then Chicago in 2013. Here we got a great overview of the company’s history, current offerings, and also we were involved in a discussion about The Mill’s presence in Chicago. Among other things, it provided us with the chance to hear about some of the practicalities around office space and visas for employees transferring from the UK.
Day three kicked off with a visit to start-up hub 1871, where the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, participated in an entertaining panel discussion with his Chicago counterpart, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with Rumi Morales (Executive Director of CME Ventures) and Emma Sinclair (co-founder of EnterpriseJungle) . Sadiq Khan talked about the many similarities between London and Chicago, emphasizing the importance of diversity and opportunity, while Rahm Emanuel pushed the fact that Chicago is the top US city in terms of return on investment in start-ups.
New York Highlights by Jan Quant
On day six of the mission the Big Apple beckoned. We kicked the day off at the Chelsea headquarters of WeWork, where a roundtable discussion provided us with the perfect opportunity to quiz city authorities about the New York business ecosystem. In addition, a panel led by Pru Ashby of London & Partners gave us the chance to hear from Sarah Wood of Unruly, Kathryn Parsons of Decoded, Jen Berrent of WeWork and Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal – all of whom enthusiastically detailed their experiences of setting up or expanding in London and New York.
Of course, a business trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Wall Street. The delegation was appropriately welcomed by the New York Stock Exchange with a Union Jack flag on display for the occasion. The closing bell ceremony was a definite highlight of our trip to New York. To great cheers from the crowd, Sadiq Khan rang the bell and repeatedly smashed the gavel down – it was a wonderful sight to witness, for all of us there, as well as on a larger scale for London.
There are just too many hightights to fit into one blog post, but I would like to extend my gratitude to the whole team at London & Partners, and to the 22 other delegates who made this trip a truly eye-opening and worthwhile experience. We look forward to strengthening our ties with the U.S. and to further expanding our US customer base in the coming months.
P.S. You will note from the picture above that apart from Sadiq and the CEO of the NYSE, all the delegates on the podium are the female founders that travelled from London. I had also been “invited” to join but I quickly realised that this was undoubtedly because my name was probably thought of as that of another female delegate “Jan”. For a moment, I had considered joining as “Waldo or Wally” lurking in the background but realised that it was best to avoid a small diplomatic incident and a little embarrassment for all by giving up my pass! Crisis averted!