Top legal boss says Leeds has 'the right ingredients' to make a start-up successful

A senior figure with global legal giant Reed Smith has said that the city of Leeds 'has all the right ingredients for a start up to be successful'.

Tamara Box, managing partner, Europe & Middle East at Reed Smith, praised the cities talent pool and business eco-system as Reed Smith Global Solutions makes Bruntwood’s Platform development the home of its first Northern UK office.

Described as ‘a billion dollar start up’, Reed Smith Global Solutions has taken approximately 5,000 sq ft and is initially creating 30 new posts, with the ambition to expand its Leeds operation to as many as 100 staff.

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Launched above Leeds City Station 10 months ago, Platform is now 95 per cent let or under offer and home to a total of 82 companies, 73 of which are in are based in the tech incubator.

23 November 2017...... Craig Burrow, Director of Leeds at Platform, Bruntwood renovated office block by Leeds City Station. Picture Tony Johnson.

Other companies that have chosen to enter the city taking space at Platform include Rradar, which expanded into Leeds from Hull; and Julius Baer, a Swiss-headquartered private bank, extending its operations outside London.

Meanwhile Platform’s tech incubator has welcomed, among others, global sports analysis company, Hudl, award winning digital agency Cyber-Duck and Identity and Access Management systems integrator, IC Consult.

Ms Box said that there are multiple factors that brought the company to the city.

“Leeds has all the right ingredients for a start up to be successful. There’s a progressive culture, an ecosystem of professional, financial and peer-related support, as well as a deep talent pool and leading universities and great transport connectivity.

“This culture is encapsulated in Platform which has very quickly established itself as a prestigious location because of its high quality workspace and its collaborative, supportive ethos, making it the perfect fit for what we want to achieve.

“Reed Smith is dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward and so it’s important that our staff are in the right environment to innovate and make things happen. Both Bruntwood and the LEP have made us extremely welcome.”

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership acknowledged that Platform is having an impact in attracting new names to the city.

Its chairman Roger Marsh said: “Our region benefits from excellent connectivity to the rest of the country. It is two hours from London by train and Platform couldn’t be closer to the train station. Its convenience is attractive for expanding businesses.

“Over 100,000 people work in the digital sector in our region, and it keeps growing.

“We’re keen to accelerate this growth which is why we’ve launched the Digital Inward Investment Fund to attract new businesses here, whilst supporting existing firms with initiatives through our Growth Service.”

Craig Burrow, Bruntwood’s director of Leeds, said: “I have worked in Leeds for a long time and something is happening here. There is so much positivity and so many excellent people working hard in both the public and private sectors in supporting the city’s and the wider region’s ambition.

“The result is that in ever-increasing numbers we are attracting successful fast-growing new businesses as well as seeing indigenous talent seeing and seizing the opportunities to advance.

“In a very short time Platform has become a centre of innovation and enterprise.”