Bosses at some of Yorkshire’s top tech companies will today depart for San Francisco as part of a trade mission to Silicon Valley.
Airline Virgin Atlantic today launches the first ever direct route to Northern California from the North of England, with the inaugural flight to include more than 30 of the region’s tech leaders, who are travelling to Silicon Valley, the world’s tech capital, to “bang the drum” for the area’s potential.
The delegates, which include the bosses of Leeds-based Aql and Hull-based VISR-VR, will meet with bosses from California’s leading universities, representatives from tech giants and members of Silicon Valley’s venture capital funding community.
Dr Adam Beaumont, founder of telecoms platform business Aql, is among those leading the mission.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “This a really exciting development.
“You can now get to the Bay Area without having to hop down to London and deal with the large layover.
“Tech is all about relationships and building those relationships will now be easier. If you are a platform tech company in the UK you absolutely as a business need to spend time in San Francisco.
“We are going to try and give delegates a wide range of experiences and we will be visiting some very famous names in the world of technology.”
Among the meetings scheduled are with Facebook, LinkedIn, Stamford University and archive.org.
The mission has been coordinated by MC2, a Northern Powerhouse partner with offices in Manchester and San Francisco and has been arranged in partnership with Manchester Airport and Virgin Atlantic, and supported by the Department for International Trade and the Institute of Directors.
Michael Gould, founder of San Francisco-based Anaplan, which operates a base in York, said: “An improved link between the North of England and San Francisco is great news for technology companies in the North of England.
“Showing progress towards making the region a significant business hub, companies and entrepreneurs will benefit from better access to the foremost location for technological innovation.
“Conversely, firms based in California stand to benefit from the largely untapped talent pool in the North of England.”
International Trade Minister, Greg Hands, said: “The Northern Powerhouse, like Silicon Valley, is a leading centre of creativity and innovation.
“A direct link between the home of the industrial revolution, and the home of the digital revolution will be a boost for both regions, and for the Northern Powerhouse’s ambitious tech and digital companies as they take advantage of new markets and trading opportunities across the world.”
Charlie Cornish, Manchester Airports Group’s chief executive, said: “The fact so many businesses from all parts of the North are joining the trade mission is testament to the role the private sector is playing in realising the Northern Powerhouse vision and I wish them all every success out in Silicon Valley.
“It is the perfect illustration of how direct connectivity to key markets like San Francisco will drive growth in high value sectors and help deliver the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.”