East London Tech City (also known as Tech City or Silicon Roundabout) is a technology cluster located in Central and East London, United Kingdom. It broadly occupies the part of London's East End between Old Street (the boundary of Central and East London) and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, with its main focus around the Shoreditch area. Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone are among the companies which have invested in the area. Imperial College London, Loughborough University, City University London and University College London are academic partners in projects based in the cluster. The hub is modelled on Silicon Valley in the United States.
The term Silicon Roundabout refers to the high number of web businesses located near the Old Street Roundabout (on the boundary of Central and East London), and as a reference to Silicon Valley in California. The terms East London Tech City, Tech City and Silicon Roundabout can be used interchangeably.
Amongst the first technology companies located in the area were Dopplr, Last.fm, Consolidated Independent, Tinker.it, TweetDeck, Berg, Trampoline Systems, AMEE, Skimbit, Fotango, weartical.com, Songkick, Techlightenment, Poke London, Kizoom, BrightLemon, Redmonk, Moo, Believe.in, LShift and Livemusic.
In 2008, there were around 15 media and high-tech companies in close proximity of the Silicon Roundabout, which forms the heart of Tech City. Plans to help accelerate the growth of the hub were announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech given in east London on 4 November 2010. A year later, Cameron announced that he was appointing entrepreneur Eric van der Kleij to lead the initiative. In 2010 there were 85 startup companies in the area. By 2011, approximately 200 firms were occupying the area, signifying a rapid increase in interest.
On 28 September 2011 it was announced that Google had acquired a seven-storey building near Old Street roundabout. Google said that the building, in Bonhill Street, would host "a range of activities, such as speaker series, hackathons, training workshops and product demonstrations" in addition to providing workspace for new companies. The building, known as Google Campus, opened in March 2012.
A number of not-for-profit organisations have created a sense of community in the area including Independent Shoreditch, a business alliance, and Digital Shoreditch, which organises monthly meet-ups plus an annual festival of the same name, as well as for-profit organisations like Silicon Roundabout, which is a conduit for office space in the area.
Notable companies and organisations active in the Tech City cluster include:
- Aurora Fashions - the company behind Coast, Oasis and Warehouse occupies one of the largest buildings around the Old Street roundabout (Exchange House) and with mobile sites and apps is a champion of new media
- Barclays - has agreed to create a new facility to provide specialist banking services to technology companies based in the area
- Black Tomato - online luxury holiday company on Scrutton Street
- BT - has agreed to accelerate the roll-out of superfast broadband in the area
- Cisco - has agreed to establish an Innovation Centre in the Olympic Park focusing on technical excellence
- City of London Corporation - assisted in the creation of the Innovation Warehouse
- Facebook - has agreed to create a base for their Developer Garage programme in the hub
- Google - has created an Innovation Hub in the area to develop next-generation applications and services (whilst retaining its UK headquarters also in central London)
- Imperial Innovations (the technology-transfer company of Imperial College London) - has agreed to advise on the creation of an accelerator space for spinout companies at the Olympic Park
- Incentivated - mobile marketing pioneer
- Inition - 3D TV pioneer
- Intel - has established a new research lab in the area focused on performance computing and new energy efficiency technologies
- Loughborough University and University College London - have agreed to work with the Olympic Legacy Company to establish a bridge between academia and enterprise in the Olympic Park.
- McKinsey & Company - has agreed to provide advice on the creation of the hub and to help to new companies starting out in the area.
- Mobile Marketing magazine - online and print magazine focussed exclusively on the mobile channel and its use in marketing
- Moo.com - business card ordering online
- Qualcomm - has agreed to provide intellectual property advice to start-up companies based in the area
- Shoreditch House - private members club
- Silicon Valley Bank - has agreed to establish a UK-based bank to provide financing for technology and life science companies based in the area
- Tesco - recently opened a number of small offices in the area though technically these are in Islington
- Vodafone - has committed to bring its Vodafone Ventures investment fund to the area
- Amazon - has opened its Digital Media Development Centre in the area
- Startup Weekend
- Sports Interactive
- Tweet Deck
Tech City Investment Organisation 
The development has met with some criticism. Think tank 'Centre for London' said the development had little focus and could be counter-productive. The think tank also raised concerns over a skills shortage, connectivity, lack of mentoring and rising costs. Tech City has been called a "marketing gimmick" on the wrong side of London (away from Heathrow Airport) with costs still over 30% more expensive than any city outside of London. James Dyson criticised the government for spending money on the scheme to attract international companies who drive up rents instead of helping start-up and hardware companies who argues have greater potential than software and internet companies. Many of the companies are not in fact technology producers, but media companies that are consumers of technology produced elsewhere.
See also 
- "Cameron reveals Silicon Valley vision for east London". BBC News. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "UK's Cameron To Reveal Plans For Tech City In East London". The Wall Street Journal. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "Silicon Valley – but in the East End, promises PM". The Independent. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "PM announces East London ‘tech city’". Number 10. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "East End tech city speech". Number 10. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "Mapping the Digital Economy: Tech City and the University". Cities Institute, London Metropolitan Business School. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Bradshaw, Tim (July 29, 2008). "silicon-roundabout-is-this-the-heart-of-the-uks-new-dotcom-boom". Financial Times blog. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- "Silicon Roundabout". The Economist. November 27, 2010. pp. 63–64.
- Prigg, Mark (July 30, 2008). "Roundabout is London's Answer to Silicon Valley". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Clark, Nick (8 September 2011). "Eric van der Kleij: No 10 guru set to super charge UK's Tech City". The Independent. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- "London's Silicon Roundabout". Wired Magazine. 29 January 2010.
- "Google Boosts London's Silicon Roundabout \date=28 September 2011". BBC News.
- "Tech City UK: The Digital Capital of Europe". UK Trade & Investment. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Tech City startups voice criticisms over Technology Strategy Board". The Guardian. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Government's Tech City start-up strategy criticised". BBC News. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "Manchester is magnet for tech pioneers". The FT. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "James Dyson criticises government focus on software and Tech City". pcadvisor.co.uk. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- Cellan-Jones, Rory (2012-05-09). "Start-up Britain - Cambridge v Tech City". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
Further reading 
- "London's moment: the tech cluster in the east of Britain's capital is on a roll". Wired. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Silicon Roundabout". The Economist. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Tech City Investment Organisation
- East London Tech City on Twitter
- Tech City News
- Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
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