London best base for tech companies, says Silicon Valley star

London is by “far and away” the best place for a technology firm to set up an international base outside of America, according to Aaron Levie, founder and chief executive of Box, one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing companies.

Levie, who was speaking as Prince Andrew formally opened Box’s new UK headquarters in Mayfair today, said that the company, an online storage firm, had conducted a “very exhaustive search” across Europe, including low-tax areas including Dublin, before deciding to locate in London.

“We looked at our customer mix, the talent we wanted to bring in and the eco-system,” said Levie, who believes the number of tech developers and start-ups has reached “a critical mass” in the capital.

“London is unquestionably a hub for consulting, for finance, for media and for marketing. We need to go where the customers are.”

Levie, 28, co-founded Box in 2005 and plans to employ 100 people in London by next year. He was wooed by trade body London & Partners and Mayor Boris Johnson, who said Box’s new office was “further evidence of London’s status as a leading tech capital”, according to The Evening Standard.

Box is valued at $1.2 billion (£916m) and provides cloud-storage services for 180,000 customers, from consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble to Heathrow Airport.

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