Silicon Roundabout, in the Old Street and Shoreditch area, has been at the forefront of the start-up boom over the last decade or so. However, what started out as an inexpensive location for start-ups needing to keep their overheads low is slowly becoming out of reach for the very community that championed it in the first place. 1
While co-working and flexible office options from the likes of WeWork and Hoxton Mix around Silicon Roundabout are helping to keep the area affordable, surging office rents are increasingly alienating start-ups looking to set-up shop. As a result, new tech hubs are springing up across the capital with areas to the north and east of Silicon Roundabout proving popular. Hackney, once populated with old warehouses, factories and workshops are transforming into a new epicentre for tech, media, and creative arts start-ups with the development of new, trendy and lower-cost office spaces. Examples of co-working and private office spaces in the area include WeWork London Fields, Work. Life London Fields and Hackney Cogs.
Destinations even further away have proven to be in demand with co-working and suitable start-up offices including 90 Main Yard next to the Olympics Park, 639 Enterprise Centre in Tottenham and the Bootstrap Company in Dalston. Tenants have also migrated further East to the Aldgate and Whitechapel areas where they can get better value for money. 2
It’s not just start-ups that are neglecting Silicon Roundabout, but tech giants have also spread to other parts of London to find spaces that accommodate their growing office requirements. Google has now just begun construction on a new 92,000-square meter headquarters next to Kings Cross and Facebook is reportedly in talks to lease a new London office right nearby, while Apple is constructing its new HQ at Battersea Power Station. 3, 4 The spread of these large corporations will continue to decentralise Silicon Roundabout’s standing as the go-to start-up place.
Fintech start-ups, for example, which stands to benefit from being close to the City, or firms in the biotech sector that tend to cluster around leading academic institutions may continue to be particular about the location of their businesses. But for many start-ups, location is less of an issue than it used to be, and so start-ups centres are likely to continue to flourish in zones 2, 3 and beyond. 5
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