London Mayor forgets Silicon Roundabout as he pushes to make capital a global TechCity
The London Mayor's Office has ditched the idea of Silicon Roundabout and instead started to focus its efforts on London as a whole, as it looks to push the UK's capital as a global tech city.
In a passionate speech to a crowd of journalists, tech ambassadors and entrepreneurs, Boris Johnson said that London was the best place for tech companies to invest, grow and take advantage of the wealth of talent already in the city. Bashing the German Chancellor and her taunts at CeBIT earlier in the week, The Mayor said: "Vorsprung durch Techcity"
London, which already plays host to the likes of Facebook and Google, shouldn't have many issues in continuing to grow the technical prowess of the tech services and industries that it supports. But in case it does, the Mayor's Office has created a number of tech ambassador roles to encourage further growth. These include Michael Action Smith, CEO of Mind Candy and Moshi Monsters founder, and Nicola Mendlesohn, Facebook's vice president of Europe.
The new push, which hopes to build "buzz" about how cool London is and how start-up friendly the city can be regardless of high rents, has quietly pushed the idea of Silicon Roundabout to the sidelines.
It is something that many we talked to at the event where happy about, including Claire Cockerton, the deputy head of Level 39, an organisation that describes itself as Europe’s largest accelerator space for finance, retail and future cities technology companies.
In a candid chat, she told Pocket-lint that it made sense for London to look beyond a single destination within the city and look to the bigger picture of Greater London as a whole, from Canary Wharf to Richmond.
Although admitting that technology could allow people to work anywhere, she believed it was the social power of the city and the numerous techhubs or co-sharing work places that have popped up all over the city that are really helping London achieve its Tech City status.
That, and the more official stance from the London Mayor's Office, is a very different message from the one that was given last year, and maybe why many have suggested that Silicon Roundabout, or at least the idea, is dying.
In reality, talking to people at the event it is not. But just as startups rise and fail, so it seems has the focus on the rather large roundabout in Old Street.
It's now a London thing, rather than just a Shoreditch thing.