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Death Defying Silicon Roundabout

Old Street Roundabout - geograph.org.uk - 1758354

Silicon Roundabout provides a gravitational pull for the London tech scene.

I feel that gravitational pull on a daily basis.

In March, Cory Doctorow wrote an article in the Guardian entitled "The slow death of Silicon Roundabout".

He writes;

Scattering Shoreditch's startups to the winds may not kill them all – but the creative energy that inspired them has gone

Also in March, at Forward Partners we signed a five year lease for office space in East Road.

We moved in last week. We were previously located in Camden. We share our office space with five of the startups that we have invested in. The overwhelming opinion in the office is that we're in a great location.

Old Street, Shoreditch and Hoxton have become the gravitational pull of the London Tech Scene. I was forever coming here for meetings. Since moving here, most of my meetings are within walking distance. I doubt that there are many tech hubs like this in the world with a such strong centre of gravity.

This much is true; The office rents in the area have gone up in Shoreditch and Hoxton. Property developers have invested in the area during the last five years. Bigger companies with deeper pockets are starting to take space. Early stage bootstrapped startups may find the rents too high and may look elsewhere.

This is all true. Yet there are many later stage startups and tech companies that have made the area their home. Some that spring to mind are Thread Skimlinks, Lyst, Appear Here, MindCandy, Makers Academy and Unruly Media.

Startup meetups cluster in the area; Silicon Drinkabout, Design and Banter, Silicon MilkRoundabout, Co-founders labs and hundreds more.

Venues such as Google Campus, Village Hall, Shoreditch, BL_ANK, Trueman Brewery service events, large and small.

Co-working spaces where desks are available to rent by the month can be found in every direction; Techspace, London Co-working, Techhub and Shoreditch Office Space are just a few examples.

The gravitational pull of the area is very much in force. It extends to Farringdon and Clerkenwell in the West, Kings Cross and Angel to the North, Mile End to the East.

This matters. It matters because community matters. It is difficult to build a business - any business. It is rarely done in isolation. People do business with people. It's why cities exist.

Just as London is the capital of the UK, Silicon Roundabout is the centre of the tech community.

Silicon Roundabout might well be a cliched and overused term. Beards and fixies are a parody of the area. The underlying momentum however is still very much in force.

I feel it every time I walk out of the front door.

Check out Tech City Map for a live overview of current companies.

Big thanks to Michael Kushner and his team for helping us find our new home. Check out the blog at siliconroundabout.org.uk.

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