Feeds

'Untidy' Shoreditch just CONFUSES American techies - Olympic hub team

Come join the tech mall in Stratford instead, US firms told

Boost IT visibility and business value

A leading American tech incubator is considering opening a British outpost on the site of the Stratford Olympics, The Register can reveal.

Cambridge Innovations Center, once home to part of the Google team that designed Android, is in top-secret preliminary discussions with iCity, the company building a digital hub in a formerly neglected corner of East London.

The iCity team has asked the Massachusetts-based group for advice on how to build a thriving tech cluster, while Cambridge has also expressed interest in founding a British tentacle within the Olympics site, The Register understands.

Situated next to MIT in Boston, CIC is the most important tech nursery on America's East Coast. It has hosted some 450 high-tech businesses and startups, including venture capitalists, biotech firms and hardware production companies. Some of its more famous residents include Linden Labs, makers of Second Life, Google and Amazon.

It has been widely praised for building links with MIT, considered among the world's leading tech universities, and Harvard, giving the bright young things a space to build up their fledgling businesses.

Although iCity would not officially confirm the discussions were taking place, a source working at the very top of the organisation said the talks could see a branch of CIC opened on the border between Stratford and Hackney.

Investors from across the pond are more positive about the newly-built Stratford development than they are about Shoreditch's Silicon Roundabout, which is seen as too "untidy" and chaotic to appeal to the average campus-reared American tech worker.

Richard Gibbs, iCity business director, said: "Americans are reacting well to iCity. They like the campus mentality and Shoreditch confuses them a little bit.

"It's just not what they expect, because it doesn’t look like Silicon Valley. I know from talking to United Kingdom Trade and Industry that they have the same issue trying to sell Shoreditch. It is a bit untidy."

He added: "We have had a number of interesting discussion with American organisations. One in particular is the world's leading innovation centre. They have an appetite to try to replicate their model here in the UK.

"This would mean that Britain gets a proven innovation model to replicate and it would also open up all sorts of connections between Hackney and the East Coast. The people who would take space in this innovation centre would see this as a natural way of spring-boarding into the UK and beyond."

The iCity team are also in discussions with a number of companies based in Silicon Valley. Last year, they hosted an event at Hackney House, which was packed full of American venture capitalists, clearly also wanting to, er, "springboard" into the UK.

The iCity development, which we're tentatively calling the Silicon Shopping Centre, is near the site of the Westfield Centre, will eventually create 6,500 jobs and add some £450m to the British economy, its bosses claimed.

Organisations already signed up to open outposts in the high-tech hinterland include national telco BT, which will run a new sports channel from Stratford, and Loughborough University.

One person who's extremely excited about the development is Mayor Boris Johnson. He said: "There is no reason why this area shouldn't be the home of a new boom in not just small startups, but mega companies. Why is it that this country hasn't produced an Amazon, a Google or a Facebook? I think there the answer is there is no reason. It’s going to happen and wouldn't be surprised if it happened in iCity." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.