How important could Silicon Roudabout be?

Last week the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, run by the government as a booster of the tech business world, unveiled a new £1m fund to support “digital businesses” in the small area around Old Street and Shoreditch in East London (known as ‘Silicon Roundabout’). The announcement was badly handled as it lacked detail.

How important could Silicon Roundabout be?  What could this fund do to help the area?

It's very worthwhile but I can't help but chuckle about the Silicon Roundabout moniker.  It is kinda hilarious and sounds very small timey.

This is complete nonsense.  Lets face it, this 'Silicon Roundabout' rubbish is a complete sham.  All of the main UK tech companies are in the Thames Valley west of London and have been for the last 30 years due to the proximity of Heathrow Airport. Who's there? Oh, nobodys like Microsoft, Oracle, CA, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, the cellular majors O2, Vodafone, 3UK, and hundreds of tech SMEs and startups that cluster around and spin off the big guys.

Silicon Roundabout.  Pffft.  Maybe come back when they have something to shout about.

To be fair though Charlie, a lot of those are regional sales offices.  Few actually produce things from those locations.  Silicon Roundabout is still very small but the area is at least home to start-ups in the traditional sense.

So what companies are based in Silicon Roundabout (very silly name by the way)?

Checkout the Silicon Milkroundabout, whereby the tech sector in the capital attempts to compete with the pull of the City in attracting the best and the brightest.

Event details

Date: Sunday 15th May, 2011

Time: 2 – 6pm

Location: Bar Music Hall, 134 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3AR

Who’s going to be there: 30 of London’s top technology startups, offering more than 100 jobs (companies include Songkick, Mind Candy, GroupSpaces, Editd, Skimlinks, Playfire,, 7digital, Huddle, OneFineStay, Fizzback, Keynoir, and Smarkets).

Nice to see they're making an effort, although I have to confess to not knowing who any of those companies are.

There's a nice video about Silicon Roundabout here

Great to see that Tweetdeck was sold to Twitter recently.  There's a bit in the Standard this week saying that the founder of Tweetdeck will stay in the area.

Twitter confirmed to the Evening Standard that the firm, and all future development of TweetDeck, will remain in London. The TweetDeck office in Shoreditch is now Twitter's first London office.

Google are moving there apparently.

Google is set to plonk itself on the doorstep of the Silicon Roundabout next year, after the company signed a lease for a seven-floor building intended to be used as a base for start-ups and coders.

This is fantastic news.  Pretty sure the government have been lobbying this for some time and it's great to see such a huge name coming to the area.

Wow, that is awesome.  Great news.

Interesting to see that Google are opening their first store in London as well.  The world's first "Google store" opened not in California but in the less glamorous setting of PC World in Tottenham Court Road at 9am.

The 285sqft pop-up "shop within a shop", which only sells Google's Chromebook laptop and a few accessories such as headphones, will run for three months up to Christmas.

Another interesting piece on Silicon Roundabout here too

"We want to be closer to that whole Shoreditch area. It's a big opportunity," said Harvey Nash chief executive Albert Ellis. "The whole tech sector has been robust all the way through the economic crisis, particularly in social networking which has created a whole new job market in software programming. The social networking operators generally use completely new programming languages which require skilled graduates to write."

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, talking about the virtues of London as a tech centre here.

All well and good Wales saying that London has so much more to offer culturally than Silicon Valley, yet that doesn't seem to have stopped the Valley becoming THE place for technology in the world.  It can't be that important or New York or somewhere would be the hub instead.

David Cameron has unveiled an interactive map of Silicon Roundabout here


Although DC's claim of there being 600 companies operating in the area is coming in for criticism.

The full list includes 1,000 businesses, which Tech City whittled down to “550 more-broadly defined digital businesses, which included those who were part of the digital movement, so may include fashion houses, architectures, etc, who are doing interesting things with software, etc”.

Not strictly speaking on the roundabout, but both Facebook and Amazon have announced this week that they're opening new facilities in London.  Great to see.