The Vibe: Fashionable tech. Clerkenwell attracts companies that have outgrown their space in Shoreditch – or are put off by the area’s escalating prices – but want to remain close to the buzz of Silicon Roundabout.
Local Heroes: Warner Yard is a tech co-working space and home to the London base of Techstars, a US accelerator programme, which nurtures early-stage ventures. White Bear Yard is a hub for technology start-ups, founded by angel investors Stefan Glaenzer, Eileen Burbidge and Robert Dighero.
Ones to Watch:
Farfetch is an online clothing retailer that provides a single shop window for dozens of independent fashion boutiques from around the world. It aspires to match the success of Net-a-Porter. EDITD, a data mining business for the fashion industry, provides real-time information on trends and shopping habits.
The Vibe: Well-connected new media quarter. The renaissance of King’s Cross and St Pancras stations has brought business, culture and improved transport links to the area.
Local Heroes: Central St Martins, the world-renowned art college has moved here, bringing creative talent to the area. The British Library, a long-term local resident, houses the Business & IP Centre, providing work space and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Ones to Watch: Facebook is setting up shop in the area after agreeing a lease on a 90,000 square foot office building. Twitter, the microblogging service, will have its own 18,000 sq ft office in the same development. Google is also due to relocate its UK operations to King’s Cross, although it has delayed the move until 2017 because its original office design was not sufficiently ambitious. Other tech businesses are likely to be attracted by the arrivals of these giants.
Tottenham Court Road
The Vibe: A crossroads: the glamour of the West End meets intellectual stimulation of Bloomsbury. Tottenham Court Road used to be the rougher end of Oxford Street but it is raising its game with the help of a major investment from Crossrail.
Local Heroes: University College London is actively involved in nurturing entrepreneurship among its students and, through its UCL Advances programme, providing research and development resources for start-ups.
Ones to Watch: HouseTrip is one of Europe’s biggest holiday rental booking sites, enabling travellers to book a stay in one of more than 270,000 houses around the world, just as they would a hotel room, and homeowners to make money from their property when they are away. Kingis a mobile games developer, whose biggest hit to date has been Candy Crush Saga. It has six game studios in Stockholm, Barcelona, Bucharest, Malmö and London, along with offices in San Francisco and Malta.
The Vibe: Shoreditch on a shoestring. Like the East End, Southwark has plenty of interesting warehouse conversions. The entertainment is world class, including the Tate Modern, the National Theatre and the South Bank.
Local Heroes: Ian Merricks, founder of White Horse Capital, founded in 2008 to provide support and capital for high growth technology start-ups. Nick Jenkins, founder of Moonpig, the online card retailer sold to Photobox for £120m in 2011.
Ones to Watch: Zoopla, a searchable directory of UK residential properties, was founded by Alex Chesterman, co-founder of online video business Lovefilm, and Simon Kain, a senior developer at Amazon UK. Audioboo is a website and smartphone app that allows people to share short audio files on social media. It was founded by Mark Rock in 2009 and gained early endorsements from writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry and The Guardian newspaper, which used it to cover the G20 protests.
The Vibe: Edgy. The farthest edge of town, but also edging up, after a £3.5bn regeneration plan. West Croydon is 15 minutes from London Bridge and Gatwick airport by train.
Local Heroes: Croydon Tech City is a community-led movement to rebrand the area as a Shoreditch for the southern suburbs. Croydon Borough Council has encouraged developers to build new homes and BT to improve broadband speeds.
Ones to Watch: DotMailer was launched in Croydon in 1999 and is now the largest email marketing company in the UK. It listed on Aim, London’s junior market, in 2011 and has a net worth of £5.8m. VideoGamer is Europe’s largest independent video gaming reviews website, which publishes news and features on the latest titles as well as high definition videos and a weekly podcast. It was founded in Brighton in late 2007, but moved to Croydon three years ago.
The Vibe: Posh boys with smart ideas. Notting Hill offers the pleasures of Hyde Park and the Portobello Road market with the chance to bump into experienced tech business founders with money to invest.
Local Heroes: Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com, the online travel website, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2000, just before the dotcom bubble burst. He is now an active angel investor. Jay Bregman, co-founder of Hailo, the taxi booking app, which in a little over two years has become a global business available in 16 cities. Mr Bregman divides his time between London and New York.
Ones to Watch: Made.com is an online furniture retailer, whose business model minimises overheads by selling online, grouping orders of the same item, not owning its factories and building close working relationships with factories and designers. Secret Sales is a free members only club which organises online private sales of exclusive designer brands. New sales are held each day but last for a limited time, offering shoppers up to 70 per cent off the recommended retail price.