East London Tech City

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Tech City
Old Street Roundabout - geograph.org.uk - 1758354.jpg
Old Street Roundabout
Tech City is located in Greater London
Tech City
Tech City
Tech City shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ325825
• Charing Cross 2.5 mi (4.0 km) WSW
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district EC1, EC2
Postcode district N1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°31′33″N 0°05′15″W / 51.5257°N 0.0875°W / 51.5257; -0.0875Coordinates: 51°31′33″N 0°05′15″W / 51.5257°N 0.0875°W / 51.5257; -0.0875

East London Tech City (also known as Tech City and Silicon Roundabout) is a technology district located in East London.[1][2][3] It broadly occupies the area between Old Street and Shoreditch areas.[1]

A cluster of web businesses initially developed around the Old Street Roundabout in 2008. The area had historically been relatively run down compared to the City. The 2008–09 recession further suppressed rents through the closure of numerous firms, making it affordable to technology start-ups, while redundancies from financial services companies, such as investment banks, released a pool of experienced talent interested in entrepreneurship.[4]

From 2010, 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.[1][5] Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel, McKinsey & Company and Microsoft are among the companies that have invested in the area.[6] 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.[7][8]


Technology companies located in the area in 2008 included Dopplr, Last.fm, Consolidated Independent, Trampoline Systems, AMEE, Skimbit (now Skimlinks), Songkick, Poke London, Kizoom, Redmonk, MOO, LShift, Ket Lai, Solstice and Schulze & Webb.[4] Other early companies to locate there were Tinker.it, flubit, TweetDeck, Berg, Fotango, weartical.com, Rummble, Squiz, Techlightenment, BrightLemon, Believe.in, 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.[6] A year later, Cameron announced that he was appointing entrepreneur Eric van der Kleij to lead the initiative.[9] In 2010 there were 85 startup companies in the area.[10] By 2011, approximately 200 firms were occupying the area, signifying a rapid increase in interest.[11] 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.[12] Wired maintains a topic on the area.[13]

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.[14] The building, known as Campus London, opened in March 2012.

In 2013 the Nominet Trust selected "5 startups making positive social change" which are based in the cluster: Streetbank, Give What You’re Good At, Videre Est Credere, Buddy App and PaveGen.[15]

A report by EY published in 2016 highlighted the importance of London to the UK's FinTech industry in terms of availability of expertise and demand for services.[16]


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.[17]


Technology companies[edit]

Notable technology companies active in the cluster include:

Educational institutions[edit]

Educational institutions active in the cluster include:

Financial and professional services providers[edit]

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[7]
  • KPMG – opened a dedicated office in January 2013 providing accounting and tax advice to early-stage technology companies[22]
  • McKinsey & Company – has agreed to provide advice on the creation of the hub and help to new companies starting out in the area[7]
  • Silicon Valley Bank – has agreed to establish a UK-based bank to provide financing for technology and life science companies based in the area[7]
  • 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[7]
  • Taylor Wessing – opened the cluster's first dedicated law firm office in October 2011[23]

Community organisations[edit]

A number of not-for-profit organisations have created a sense of community in the area including Independent Shoreditch,[24] a business alliance, and Digital Shoreditch, which organises monthly meet-ups plus an annual festival of the same name.

East London Radio launched in 2013 as an on-line talk community radio station run entirely by volunteers, with studios in several East London boroughs.

Public sector organisations[edit]

Public sector organisations active in the cluster include:


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.[27] 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.[28] [29]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.[30]


London Buses[edit]

Tech City is well served by a number of London Buses services.

Current routes
Route Start End Served area since Notes
21 Newington Green Lewisham Centre 3 October 1934[31]
43 Friern Barnet Libracy London Bridge 3 October 1934[32]
55 Leyton Bakers Arms Oxford Circus Holles Street 25 October 1969[33]
76 Tottenham Hale Waterloo 3 October 1934[34]
135 Old Street Crossharbour 24 May 2008[35]
141 Palmers Green North Circular Road London Bridge Bus Station 8 November 1961[36]
205 Bow Church Paddington 31 August 2002[37]
214 Highgate Village Finsbury Square 1 February 1961[38]
243 Wood Green Waterloo 19 July 1961[39]
271 Highgate Village Finsbury Square 20 July 1960[40]
N55 Oxford Circus Woodford Wells 28 April 2001[41] Night bus
N205 Paddington Leyton Drapers Field 30 August 2013[42] Night bus


Tech City has relatively good north-south rail links. London Underground Northern line (City branch) and National Rail Northern City Line which is operated by Great Northern provide rapid transit and commuter services 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.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Cameron reveals Silicon Valley vision for east London". BBC News. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "UK's Cameron To Reveal Plans For Tech City In East London". The Wall Street Journal. 4 November 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Grice, Andrew (4 November 2010). "Silicon Valley – but in the East End, promises PM". London: The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "The Silicon joke? From roundabout to revolution". The Telegraph. 2018-03-18. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-19. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ a b "PM announces East London 'tech city'". Number 10. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "East End tech city speech". Number 10. Archived from the original on 9 January 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Mapping the Digital Economy: Tech City and the University" (PDF). Cities Institute, London Metropolitan Business School. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "London's Silicon Roundabout". Wired Magazine. 29 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Tech-City, London's Silicon Valley". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  12. ^ WIRED. "London's Silicon Roundabout". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  13. ^ here
  14. ^ "Google Boosts London's Silicon Roundabout \date=28 September 2011". BBC News. 
  15. ^ Tech City News, "London's Top Tech for Social Good," 13 August 2013.
  16. ^ "An evaluation of the international FinTech sector" (PDF). EY. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  17. ^ "UK tech firms smash venture capital funding record". London & Partners. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  18. ^ "Tech City UK". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  19. ^ Garside, Juliette (10 August 2012). "Amazon moves engineering hub to east London". The Guardian. 
  20. ^ Aurora Fashions Archived 13 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "EE". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "KPMG sets up Tech City garrison". Accountancy Age. 7 December 2012. 
  23. ^ "Tech City gets law firm boost". City AM. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Independent Shoreditch
  25. ^ "Tech City UK: The Digital Capital of Europe". UK Trade & Investment. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  26. ^ McGregor, Jay (13 March 2013). "Tech City startups voice criticisms over Technology Strategy Board". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  27. ^ "Government's Tech City start-up strategy criticised". BBC News. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  28. ^ "Manchester is magnet for tech pioneers". The FT. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  29. ^ "Choosing a UK business bank account". Blog post. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2017. 
  30. ^ "James Dyson criticises government focus on software and Tech City". pcadvisor.co.uk. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "London Bus Route 21". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  32. ^ "London Bus Route 43". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  33. ^ "London Bus Route 55". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  34. ^ "London Bus route 76". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  35. ^ "London Bus Route 135". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  36. ^ "London Bus Route 141". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  37. ^ "London Bus Route 205". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  38. ^ "London Bus Route 214". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  39. ^ "London Bus Route 243". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  40. ^ "London Bus Route 271". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  41. ^ "London Buses Route N55". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  42. ^ "London Night Bus Route N205". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  43. ^ Matters, Transport for London. "Pop-up shops arrive at Old Street Tube station". Retrieved 6 November 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]