East London Tech City
East London Tech City (also known as Tech City and Silicon Roundabout) is a technology cluster located in East London. It broadly occupies the area between Old Street (the boundary of Central and East London) and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, with its locus in the Shoreditch area. It is the third-largest technology startup cluster in the world after San Francisco and New York City.
A cluster of web businesses initially developed around the Old Street Roundabout in 2009. The area had historically been relatively run down compared to the City, and the closure of numerous firms during the 2008-09 recession had further suppressed rents making it affordable to technology start-ups. Ironically the area was not served by fibre optic cable in 2009, but only a few hundred metres away, where rents were much higher in the City of London, an extensive fibre optic cable infrastructure was already in place.
Later, as the cluster developed, both local and national government supported its growth, with the goal of creating a cluster comparable to Silicon Valley in the United States. Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel and McKinsey & Company are among the companies that have invested in the area. City, University of London, London Metropolitan University, Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and University College London are all academic partners in projects based in the cluster.
- 1 History
- 2 Participants
- 3 Responses
- 4 Transport
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Amongst the first technology companies located in the area were Dopplr, Last.fm, Consolidated Independent, Tinker.it, flubit, TweetDeck, Berg, Trampoline Systems, AMEE, Skimbit (now Skimlinks), Fotango, weartical.com, Rummble, Songkick, Squiz, Techlightenment, Poke London, Kizoom, BrightLemon, Redmonk, MOO, Believe.in, LShift, Livemusic and WAYN.
Plans to help accelerate the growth of the cluster were announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech given in east London on 4 November 2010. A year later, Cameron announced that he was appointing entrepreneur Eric van der Kleij to lead the initiative. In 2010 there were 85 startup companies in the area. By 2011, approximately 200 firms were occupying the area, signifying a rapid increase in interest. Wired magazine updated this figure in 2012 and suggested some 5,000 tech companies were located in the wider area centred on the Old Street roundabout. Wired maintains a topic on the area.
On 28 September 2011 it was announced that Google had acquired a seven-storey building near Old Street roundabout. Google said that the building, in Bonhill Street, would host "a range of activities, such as speaker series, hackathons, training workshops and product demonstrations" in addition to providing workspace for new companies. The building, known as Campus London, opened in March 2012.
Investment in London's technology sector was $2.28 billion in 2015, 69 per cent higher than the $1.3 billion raised in 2014. Since 2010, London-based technology companies have collectively raised $5.2 billion of venture capital funding.
Notable technology companies active in the cluster include:
- Amazon - has opened its Digital Media Development Centre in the area
- Aurora Fashions  - the company behind Coast, Oasis and Warehouse occupies one of the largest buildings around the Old Street roundabout (Exchange House) and with mobile sites and apps
- Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine (AMEE)
- BT - has agreed to accelerate the roll-out of superfast broadband in the area
- Cisco - has agreed to establish an Innovation Centre in the Olympic Park
- EE - has introduced 300Mbit/s 4G in the Tech City area
- Facebook - has agreed to create a base for their Developer Garage programme in the hub
- Google - has created an Innovation Hub in the area to develop next-generation applications and services (whilst retaining its UK headquarters also in central London)
- Gojimo - the UK's leading revision app provider
- Growth Intelligence
- Intel - has established a new research lab in the area focused on performance computing and new energy efficiency technologies
- Lost my Name
- Qualcomm - has agreed to provide intellectual property advice to start-up companies based in the area
- Simply Business
- Sports Interactive
- Startup Weekend
- Tweet Deck
- Ve Interactive - an e-commerce solutions provider based in Clerkenwell
Educational institutions active in the cluster include:
- Imperial Innovations (the technology-transfer company of Imperial College London) - has agreed to advise on the creation of an accelerator space for spinout companies at the Olympic Park
- Loughborough University and University College London - have agreed to work with the Olympic Legacy Company to establish a bridge between academia and enterprise in the Olympic Park
- London Metropolitan University - has their own student accelerator and business incubator "Accelerator London" in 35 Kingsland Road
Financial and professional services providers
Financial and professional services providers active in the cluster include:
- Barclays - has agreed to create a new facility to provide specialist banking services to technology companies based in the area
- KPMG - opened a dedicated office in January 2013 providing accounting and tax advice to early-stage technology companies
- McKinsey & Company - has agreed to provide advice on the creation of the hub and help to new companies starting out in the area
- Silicon Valley Bank - has agreed to establish a UK-based bank to provide financing for technology and life science companies based in the area
- Capco - relocated their UK headquarters to Great Eastern Street in 2014 (along with BOLD ROCKET), and is currently providing office space for small FinTech startups
- Taylor Wessing - opened the cluster's first dedicated law firm office in October 2011
A number of not-for-profit organisations have created a sense of community in the area including Independent Shoreditch, a business alliance, and Digital Shoreditch, which organises monthly meet-ups plus an annual festival of the same name.
Public sector organisations
Public sector organisations active in the cluster include:
- City of London Corporation - assisted in the creation of the Innovation Warehouse
- Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) - a quango founded by the UK Government department UK Trade & Investment to encourage the growth and development of the Tech City cluster.
The rapid growth of the cluster has met with some criticism. Think tank 'Centre for London' said the development had little focus and could be counter-productive. The think tank also raised concerns over a skills shortage, connectivity, lack of mentoring and rising costs. Tech City has been called a "marketing gimmick" on the wrong side of London (away from Heathrow Airport) which is still over 30% more expensive than any city outside London. James Dyson criticised the government for spending money on the scheme to attract international companies who drive up rents instead of helping start-up and hardware companies who he argues have greater potential than software and internet companies.
Tech City (at its locus) is well served by a number of London Buses services.
|Route||Start||End||Served area since||Notes|
|21||Newington Green||Lewisham Centre||03.10.34|
|43||Friern Barnet Libracy||London Bridge||03.10.34|
|55||Leyton Baker Arms||Oxford Circus Holles Street||25.10.69|
|141||Palmers Green North Circular Road||London Bridge||08.11.61|
|214||Highgate Village||Finsbury Square||01.02.61|
|271||Highgate Village||Finsbury Square||20.07.60|
|N55||Oxford Circus||Woodford Wells||28.04.01|
|N205||Paddington||Leyton Drapers Field||30.08.13|
National Rail and London Underground
London Underground Northern line (Bank branch) and National Rail Great Northern services at Old Street serve the area at Old Street. With the increase in passenger numbers using the station, in 2014 Transport for London announced that it was to offer pop-up retail space at Old Street station as part of a drive to increase its revenue.
- "Cameron reveals Silicon Valley vision for east London". BBC News. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "UK's Cameron To Reveal Plans For Tech City In East London". The Wall Street Journal. 4 November 2010. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Grice, Andrew (4 November 2010). "Silicon Valley – but in the East End, promises PM". London: The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "Silicon Roundabout is alive and well=Tech City News". Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- "First came the artists, then came the hackers: The strange history of London's own Silicon Valley". Tech Republic. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- "PM announces East London 'tech city'". Number 10. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "East End tech city speech". Number 10. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "Mapping the Digital Economy: Tech City and the University" (PDF). Cities Institute, London Metropolitan Business School. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Clark, Nick (8 September 2011). "Eric van der Kleij: No 10 guru set to super charge UK's Tech City". The Independent. London. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- "London's Silicon Roundabout". Wired Magazine. 29 January 2010.
- "Google Boosts London's Silicon Roundabout \date=28 September 2011". BBC News.
- Tech City News, "London's Top Tech for Social Good," August 13th 2013.
- "An evaluation of the international FinTech sector" (PDF). EY. February 24, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- "UK tech firms smash venture capital funding record". London & Partners. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
- Garside, Juliette (10 August 2012). "Amazon moves engineering hub to east London". The Guardian.
- Aurora Fashions
- EE Mobile Network
- "Accelerator London – Business Incubator in London". www.accelerator-london.com. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
- "KPMG sets up Tech City garrison". Accountancy Age. 7 December 2012.
- "Tech City gets law firm boost". City AM. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- Independent Shoreditch
- "Tech City UK: The Digital Capital of Europe". UK Trade & Investment. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- McGregor, Jay (13 March 2013). "Tech City startups voice criticisms over Technology Strategy Board". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Government's Tech City start-up strategy criticised". BBC News. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "Manchester is magnet for tech pioneers". The FT. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "James Dyson criticises government focus on software and Tech City". pcadvisor.co.uk. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "London's moment: the tech cluster in the east of Britain's capital is on a roll". Wired. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Silicon Roundabout". The Economist. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Cellan-Jones, Rory (2012-05-09). "Start-up Britain - Cambridge v Tech City". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Tech City Investment Organisation
- East London Tech City on Twitter
- Department for Business, Innovation & Skills