For a long time Shoreditch has been the home of the UK’s Tech sector. The East London neighbourhood now hosts the third largest (and, according to property agents Frank Knight, the most expensive) Tech Start-up cluster in the world
Many newly built tech companies are drawn to Shoreditch because of the success it has delivered in the past. However, instant access to venture capitalists, networking events and other start-ups has combined to make Shoreditch even harder to resist. But is Shoreditch’s position still unassailable? I don’t think so; I believe there is an alternative about to make its move to become the home of UK Tech.
Over the last couple of years the Tech sector in Croydon has been gathering momentum and people are now openly talking about the area as a viable alternative to Shoreditch. The ONS named Croydon the fastest growing tech ecosystem in the UK and it is now the home to thousands of new start-ups and it seems it is only going to get bigger.
But why Croydon?
Firstly, the price is right. If we take the brand new WeWork in Mark Square Shoreditch as an example, renting a desk it will cost you at least £400 a month per person while a private office costs £720 month. Contrast this with Croydon’s newly built TMRW office space, you will be pay only half that with desks being rented for as little as £250 a month not to mention the option of having a floating 5 day membership for only £99. Moving to Croydon is saving companies thousands of pounds.
Secondly, there are easy transport links. Croydon has some of the best and most reliable transport links in London and Mick Robbins CEO of Connected Space recently cited the transport links as one of the key reasons why he moved his company to Croydon.
You can travel to Victoria in 15 minutes and getting to Gatwick Airport takes only 25 minutes by train. The Tram Lines are efficient are run continuously throughout the night. It is also much easier to drive into Croydon than it is to drive into Shoreditch and every entrepreneur will tell that the ease of access is key to a business ‘success.
Lastly, you will be in good company. Croydon’s growing success has a lot to do with the people involved; there is a genuine drive and desire for the city to become a success.
Not for Profit organisations like Croydon Tech City and Shaking Hands are pouring a lot of time and effort into the city. Matthew Hancock, Minster for Digital and Culture, called Croydon the blue print for the future and this has to be to do with the people driving the city forward. There are host of different networking events happening each week, all trying to bring people together.
Francois Mazoudier, founder of TMRW, highlighted only last week that the progressive nature of Croydon Council was his main driver for moving to Croydon. Meanwhile HMRC have recently built offices in Croydon to underline their belief that Croydon is the place to be if they are to reach their target of becoming the most digitally- advanced tax authority in world.
There is a lot happening in the city and time will tell if Croydon has what it take to really rival Shoreditch as the UK’s home of Technology. However, it is definitely one to watch (and consider) for any young Tech start-up looking for a new home.