Facebook's new London office will host a startup incubator

The office will open in 2018 and create 800 jobs

Facebook today revealed plans to open a new London office at Rathbone Place in central London, hiring 800 new staff, despite the uncertain implications of Brexit on access to talent and funding.

It will be the company's biggest engineering hub outside of the US and will bring the total number of Facebook UK workers to 2,300 people.

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Rathbone Place, designed by Frank Gehry, will house engineers, developers, marketing and sales staff over seven floors when it opens as Facebook's London office in 2018.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: "I want to congratulate Facebook on the opening of their new London office. The UK is not only the best place to start a new business, it's also the best place to grow one.

"It's a sign of confidence in our country that innovative companies like Facebook invest here, and it's terrific news that they will be hiring 800 more highly skilled workers next year."

The new offices will also be home to Facebook's first in-house startup incubator, called LDN_LAB, where startups will be able to take part in a three-month programme to propel their development. They will benefit from office space, expert training, mentorship and networking opportunities.

The programme officially opens in February and is currently accepting applications from startups that are using technology to build communities and bring people together. Applications close on 3 January and startups that apply also need to be based in the UK, founded in the last three years and have teams of up to 50 people.

Nicola Mendelsohn, VP of Facebook EMEA, said: "We're delighted to be opening our new UK office today, announcing the creation of 800 new jobs and launching LDN_LAB, a dedicated development space for UK startups. Today's announcements show that Facebook is more committed than ever to the UK and in supporting the growth of the country's innovative startups."

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Mendelsohn pointed to the UK's entrepreneurial ecosystem and reputation for its engineering excellence as a reason as to why Facebook chose the UK for its new office. She added: "This country has been a huge part of Facebook's story over the past decade, and I look forward to continuing our work to achieve our mission of bringing the world closer together".

Julian David, CEO at techUK said: "It is great to see a world-leading company like Facebook continuing to invest in London's renowned tech ecosystem, despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. Facebook has chosen to be amongst like-minded businesses and the brightest minds in placing its very first in-house start-up incubator, LDN_LAB, in the UK. Large businesses are key to supporting innovation and we are excited to see what becomes of the start-ups that can grow and scale as a result of this endeavour. The message is clear: London is open, and tech is the flag bearer."

During its ten years in London Facebook has created a number of products including Workplace, which over 30,000 businesses use, and the Oculus Rift VR headset.

Image source: Ben Lister, PA Wire

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