Tech City has been one of the UK’s major economic successes over the past five years, with Silicon Roundabout’s burgeoning tech scene receiving $1billion worth of investment in 2014. This is quite a turnaround from the $60.5m investment seen in 2010 and has been in the context of challenging economic conditions during much of this period. Earlier this month, the Telegraph reported that London's tech sector had attracted more investment in the past three months than the entirety of 2012.
The state of the UK economy is currently a fierce political battleground in the run up to the May election. With technology an increasingly important element in our services dominated economy what are the prospects for a hub such as Tech City over the next five years?
Undoubtedly, Tech City will see continued growth over the next five years regardless of which party comes to power. A unique community has developed in London around Old Street roundabout which is clearly attracting private investment, and global technology giants like Microsoft are buying into the emerging tech scene there. Part of this attraction is due to the atmosphere that has developed around the area, the diversity of the workforce and the collaborative environment, all of which means that the culture of technology entrepreneurship will continue apace.
In terms of the technology, the focus for Tech City will continue to be around the development of applications. However, increasingly these apps will not be built not only for the mobile space but also for the Internet of Things. This market is only set to grow as the possibilities for things like the connected home or the growth of the wearables market are realised and Tech City is in prime position to lead innovation in this area.
Something to watch over the next five years will be the growth in competition facing Tech City. With Google investing heavily in a King’s Cross Campus, there will be a real alternative for start-ups looking to begin their business journey. London is big enough to contain several tech hubs, but it will mean that there will be increased competition for the best and brightest talents.
Working for a company located in the Tech City area and that has a key role to play in the development of Tech City in terms of connectivity and colocation services it has been fascinating watching the development of the area as a tech hub. Undoubtedly there is much more to come, but what’s key is that we have seen a real community emerge around the common passion for technological innovation. This is very difficult to manufacture, and as long as the organic nature of the community survives and outside investment continues there will be a strong Tech City with companies like Interxion to support it.