East London Tech City - What do you think?


There has been a good amount of coverage on the recent announcement by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London on their desire to catalyze investment in east London to transform it into one of the world’s great technology centres.


We know that areas like Shoreditch have been incredibly successful, largely without any state investment, thriving predominantly on the creativity of the tech community. This begs the question what kind of support should government provide to support start ups in London and to make sure that we keep the talent that we have while encouraging new tech talent to locate in London?


Several major IT companies have committed to supporting Tech City East, including among others Facebook and Google, but what will it really take to make sure that the digital cluster is sustainable in the long term with the right kind of eco system around it?


In City Hall we have been tasked with project managing the Tech City East project on behalf of Number 10 and we would really like to know the views of the tech community – what should we do and what shouldn’t we do? Not just in relation to the creation of a new physical space – but what things could we do to support tech start-ups and keep them here?


We want as many people as possible to participate in this discussion so please leave comments and suggestions and encourage as many others you know to do likewise.


It would also be great if you could join me and David Willetts, Minister for Science and Universities , at Tech Hub on December 20th when we will talking about Tech City East and when you will have a chance to give us your thoughts and ideas . Register here for tickets

Hi Anthony,

None of the links to individual blog posts from your home page (http://data.london.gov.uk/blogs/anthony-browne) work. Please sort this out - its really not a great first impression.

Thu, 12/16/2010 12:50

Comment submitted by jamiet

As a new start-up I am interested in know how Tech City East will be linked with 'Investment' agencies, angels, banks, VCs etc.

Thu, 12/16/2010 13:32

Comment submitted by Aine McGuire

Two things strike me...

Fast, reliable broadband.  Minimum of 100Mbps symetrical.  Ideally, non-contended.

Cheap, secure housing.  Also with access to fast broadband.


The first should be obvious.  Companies need to shuttle around gigs of data and participate in video conferences.  Going with "up to" 24Mbps just isn't good enough for a busy office.


Secondly, I can't afford to live in London.  The £3K I pay ever year in commuting costs is worth it because the only places I could afford in London would see me stabbed, robbed and vandalised within a week!  I want to live in an area where I'm not afraid that my expensive laptop and phone will be stolen from me week after week.





Thu, 12/16/2010 13:42

Comment submitted by Terence Eden

The obious: fast broadband, efficient services, reliable transport, personal security.

The less obvious: leveraging the tech city to create a local community and as a support to it.

Which means that apart from technology, council services should be way above the London average. Take the current weather conditions as an example: a location is the East is fine provided that the main access roads are gritted and that trains can get into it.

I happen to do sports in East London and I must say that sometimes it's scary walking to the tube station. More sensible patrolling is surely needed, but more important are ways to involve the local community - and sustain it in solving any anti-social issues. This should be among the primary goals of a Tech City located in East London.

Mon, 12/20/2010 15:56

Comment submitted by Giuseppe Sollazzo

You asked so here goes...

Suggest Schools in the area become a hub for highspeed wireless networks. with ariels dotted around the school for local people to connect into. Local info could be put on main page and people could (maybe at a minimal fee sign up) for very cheap internet connection.

Profits go to schools. Home tutition via webcam/chat. Home work can be set for children in bad weather. local info re:  job / councils / roadworks/ planning permission from local councils could be freely available etc.

Most families have a pc or laptop. So those who have not could be supplied from the school.

Also - Elderly could be brought into the system. Its the elderly who dont talk to anyone for months, see anyone etc.

Twitter,facebook, chat rooms etc. give old people a new lease of life. I have seen this in working practise on twitter. good for the fingers, good for the grey matter.

Local ITclasses -basic training on pc use. Also being East London maybe basic English tutorial to run along side. I work in Dagenham so see firsthand the language barrier.

Better information: local information: will bring those who do not consider themselve part of the community, into the community.

We have the likes of BTfon out there now. which offers BT customers free wifi, but how many people actualy use it? The local coffee shops and cafes etc could be brought into the network. (Internet cafe for 2011). Local network Wifi.

The trick is to get Adults /Families/ Elderly using the tech - kids are already hooked up and doing it via their mobiles.


Mon, 12/20/2010 16:06

Comment submitted by ndyBasildon (not verified

This is a big one for me - the complete lack of Starbucks in the area. I know it's not to everyones taste, but it's my favourite caffeine source. There's one at Old Street but none in Shoredicth/Hoxton. The nearest Costa is even further away at Livepool Street Station.

Thu, 12/23/2010 11:17

Comment submitted by cot (not verified

Big successful companies are more the result of a tech center then the basis of them.  The main challenge with Shoreditch, were we have an office, is cost/quality of core services and lifestyle costs.

Internet service is ok enough, but hosting services are way too expensive.

The costs for developers is also out of sight, driven largely by lack of skilled developers. The large banks and media organizations pay too much for start-ups to compete on salary for a relatively small pool of developers. And then younger developers do not want to come into London as cost of living is too high.

At the end of the day the vibrancy of a tech center is based on talent. Maybe when Twitter/Facebook go public some money will wash into the Ditch here--but that didn't happen with the Google millionaires.

UK should also review the stock option plans seriously. It is not attractive for employees of foreign companies at all.

Short answer = talent and tax. Make those work and the rest will sort itself out.

Thu, 12/30/2010 12:06

Comment submitted by Jon Himoff

Ternece is so right, it has to be about broadband - for any businesses to thrive over the next decade broadband speeds have to be increasing - this means fibre networks up to and through the front door of the office and preferablly local hotspots so people can take their laptops to coffee shops, parks etc and get the same access speeds which they can in their offices.

Mon, 06/27/2011 17:24

Comment submitted by aptopComparer (not verified