Right in the middle of Shoreditch, and a landmark for the Silicon Roundabout community, TechHub has turned one year old. With the captivating Elizabeth Varley and the Helm, supported by Mike Butcher and Mike Marcus (plus many others), TechHub is ready to celebrate its second year of operations.
I attended part of their celebrations this past week, and I was most definitely filled with a refreshing optimism for the future of this blossoming tech cluster within the East End of London.
The first thing that hit me at the meeting was the energy that was felt in the room. Everyone was enthused with youthful optimism, but somehow, you just wanted to get involved yourself and know more about the progress.
In this community, the majority of businesses have emerged from a problem that the founders have personally solved, like not finding enough people to play football with that week. Or, they were exploring their personal passion, such as being socially responsible.
The common theme that unites all the entrepreneurs: is that they want their ideas to succeed, but with the mentality, ‘..even if success doesn’t materialize as we had hoped, at least we tried..‘ — and then we move on to test the next idea or concept.
Refreshingly, failed projects are not seen as a negative, but as a valuable lesson in business.
Noteworthy UK Entrepreneurs to Watch
Sqaudify – if you ever had the annoyance of people dropping out of a five-a-side football game at the last minute, or want to arrange a game of badminton but none of your friends are keen players, then use Squadify. It is a social network geared towards all types of sports. Currently, you can register for the beta version through their website.
GoCarShare – having trouble getting to a festival, or want to share the journey with someone else? Look no further than GoCarShare. Part of the local “green movement” in the UK, this site helps users make new friends on a car journey. Although still in the early stages of development, the team has great plans to roll out the scheme into other areas and sectors.
Stands – have you ever been in an unfamiliar part of London and need a black cab, but don’t know where the nearest one is located? Then Stands is what you need. The smartphone app will help you locate, hail and hire the nearest black cab. Again, currently in beta mode, but the founder has the experience of several start-ups and is making great progress on the development of this concept.
Hills Bede – for me, this is what the East London Tech City is all about, young, up and coming developers with lots of ideas and not enough time to work on their projects alone. Hills Bede is about having interesting ideas and developing new things by working together with others in the community — or if you have a problem, they will help you find a solution.
Conclusions and Market Outlook
This is just a small sample of the technical and creative talent that we have in the UK as a whole. It’s my first meet-up report, and I’m sure there are plenty more noteworthy early-stage companies to share with you.
If the last 12 months is anything to go by, the next chapter of the TechHub experience is going to be equally rewarding for all participants.
More reports on Digital Britain from the heart of Shoreditch, coming soon…