The Met said the body is believed to be female and are naturally treating the incident as suspicious.
Mr Piper said: "That was where the Virgin empire started. That was his first office before he could afford anything else."
A spokeswoman for Virgin confirmed that the company owned a houseboat on the Grand Union Canal.
It is understood Mr Branson owned a houseboat which was available to rent for more than £1,000 a week back in 2012.
The boat, which includes three bedrooms, a roof terrace, a kitchen and a shower room, was described as his "base of operations" when he started in business.
It is understood the body was found by a stretch of the canal where the tow path had been closed by Thames Water for work.
A woman, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's sick, I live nearby and didn't hear anything yesterday. I walked past this morning and saw the police tape and thought there'd been a fight.
"Then I found out it was for this."
One boat owner said: "I only got here today and saw police walking about. They were searching all through the pathway with sticks. It's horrible."
A Met spokesman said a post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.
"Until the post-mortem has concluded we will not speculate on cause of death," added the spokesman.
"At this early stage no arrests have been made and the investigation continues."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8244.