Tech City – The new Silicon Valley?
An area around the Old Street roundabout in East London, aptly named Tech City (also known as Silicon Roundabout), is home to a group of new media and software start-ups aiming to compete with Silicon Valley as a nucleus for all leading technology companies, writes James Scholfield, consultant at international marketing and digital recruitment specialists, EMR.
There are now more than 600 companies in the area, compared to just 200 last year and the area continues to experience unprecedented growth.
Supporting this crusade to become the “digital capital of Europe” is the Tech City Investment Organisation, dedicated to driving investment to the area and, in turn, marketing professionals to lead their growth. Kevin Eyres, Tech City Talent Champion and former UK & Ireland MD of LinkedIn, is quoted on the Tech City website saying: “One of our main priorities in Tech City is to attract and develop the best talent.”
Some of Europe’s most influential tech companies now call this area of London home, including Google, Cisco, Intel and Facebook. However, there are three key ingredients which make Silicon Valley what it is today: links to education, investment and entrepreneurial confidence.
Unfortunately these three things (not to mention the sunshine and warm climate), East London lacks.
Think of successful tech CEOs and chances are they’re not British; Zuckerberg, Bezos, Jobs, Palmisano, Cook, Ballmer and Parker, to name a few. Historically, Americans have always been higher risk takers and more aggressive in driving businesses forward than the British. However, this is not to discredit marketers within these businesses. On the contrary, many marketers may find a position at these companies more engaging, challenging and creative than pre-established large tech institutions.
Support is indeed booming in this East London hub. The British government has pledged £400 million in funding, BT are bringing super-fast broadband to the area and Google announced late last year they have signed a 10-year lease on a seven-story office block to support tech start-ups, with Google UK’s Engineering Director, David Singleton, quoted in The Telegraph saying the area “has huge potential for economic growth and new jobs over the coming years.”
Let’s just watch this space as this London tech hub stretching from Shoreditch to the 2012 Olympic Games site has some potential…