London's Tech City lives on
In a recent Forbes article, Trevor Clawson questioned the continued growth of London’s Tech City, the area better known as the Silicon Roundabout, between Old Street and Clerkenwell.
Before 2008, the area didn’t have a reputation or a strong presence as a tech sector; it was essentially dead space. With a central London location and access to the tube system and, more widely, national and international connections, the area started to attract a variety of media and tech companies. Tweetdeck and Last.fm were amongst the first and Amazon and Facebook amongst the biggest.
Over the years, the area’s popularity has grown. Here are our 8 reasons why it will continue to grow:
- Price – as the area has grown relatively quickly over the last few years, office space can cost up to three quarters of the price cheaper than other London areas, such as Mayfair.
- Flexible serviced office space – with an abundance of serviced office space, which offers as few or as many desks as your needs require, it’s stress-free. You don’t have to worry about furnishing your space, the leases are shorter and, therefore, if your business expands, you can change your office size easily.
- The right crowd – In the Tech City Report from Dec 2013, it claimed 582,000 people are employed in the tech/digital sector, in London. Mixing within an area of like-minded people will, surely, aid creativity and growth.
- Bright lights of East London – With its steady growth, the area offers much in the way of social activity. Bars and restaurants are a plenty, making it appealing for young entrepreneurs to live and thrive in the area.
- Travel connections – Sitting on the tube’s northern line, you are well connected with other parts of the city, making it easier to get to clients and agencies. There’s also national rail links nearby and St Pancras, making it possible to travel into Europe within two hours.
- Web presence – As the BBC recently announced, the .London web domain will go on sale in April, with 200,000 businesses expected to apply. It’s definitely the right time to be situated in London as, for growing, and even long standing, businesses the prestige of the capital’s name has never been so important.
- What the stats say – Search Office Space recorded a growing number of leads on offices in the Old Street and Clerkenwell area. In the last six months alone it was in our top five most sought after areas.
- What companies say – James Delow and his company Starstruck Media took an office in Old Street through Search Office Space in 2012 and are still situated there.
James says, “We chose to set up our business in this area for several reasons. We were after an affordable area that still had ties with the media industry. Not everyone can afford Soho prices and we quickly realised that lots of young, exciting media/production companies where heading East to set up shop.
It feels like the perfect place for Starstruck Media at this time as it’s only a stone’s throw from ‘Central’ where we’re often out and about shooting.
During our time on Goswell Road, we have made great connections with various other media companies. This kind of close-knit community offers a huge helping hand in the growth of our business, from the standpoint of expanding our client base, exploring other avenues of the industry and building strong business relationships with like-minded organisations.”
The stats, the opinions and the common sense all point to the success and likelihood of more growth in the area over the coming years. As the big companies move in, there will be more opportunity for the small businesses and the area’s importance for connections and expertise will grow.
Right now, the Tech City is ‘up and coming’, but I look forward to five years’ time, when this part of London is renowned for its fantastic hub of technology and media experience.