The founder of a London-based rival to AirBnB has hit back after a co-founder of the US site criticised London’s digital economy.
AirBnB chief technology officer Nathan Blecharczyk suggested London was a technology backwater compared to California’s technology hub Silicon Valley.
He claimed London was ‘stuck in a Silicon Valley Roundabout’ and held back by its failure to produce a ‘billion dollar’ online business.
But Phil Cooper, founder of Kippsy.com, has come to the defence of London, saying Silicon Valley companies do not have any unique claim on knowing what consumers globally are demanding.
“I get irritated when Silicon Valley heavyweights launch into the UK start-up market. Brits have never shied away from the David and Goliath scenario.
“I see Kippsy as a disruptor to the disruptors. We are often met with surprise that we have entered a market with such established players, but this market is less competitive than my previous industry of digital advertising.”
Cooper cited Vodafone, which was sold to Verizon last year for $130 billion, Hailo, Moshi Monsters and entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio, who sold Summly to Yahoo! for US $30 million, as examples of great British successes.
Last year, 15,720 new companies launched in London’s equivalent of Silicon Valley, Tech City. Government figures showed that the digital and creative industries in the UK accounted for 6% of British GDP.
Cooper accused Silicon Valley of having a globalisation strategy of telling the rest of the world what it should consume.
“Collaborative consumption is about the market deciding what they consume; they will establish their own levels. In London we value personal service. We aren’t trying to be another Silicon Valley,” he said.
Cooper launched Kippsy with over 1,000 centrally-located premium properties as an alternative to hotels and with a focus on bespoke service.
It has just launched what it claims to be the sector’s first comprehensive loyalty scheme for all users of the site.