A release from Croydon council last week confirmed that Croydon is London’s fastest growing tech cluster: achieving 23 per cent growth of new tech and media businesses since 2011, higher than London (17.1 per cent) and the UK (11.3 per cent) averages over this period.
This may come as a surprise for a borough that is notorious for its dodgy hairstyles and the 2011 riots to become an epicentre of innovation, but all that is changing with the emergence of Croydon Tech City.
Founded in October 2012, the 'Silicon Valley of South London' has grown to over 600 software developers, venture capitalists and tech founders, as well as politicians, teachers and activists - all of whom are are committed to making Croydon an attractive home to early-stage technical and digital startups.
Over 1,000 tech and media businesses in Croydon Tech City
Croydon is currently home to over 1,000 digital, creative and software businesses: 185 tech businesses with 1384 employees in the city centre and there are a further 830 tech companies operating in the wider borough. These include promising up-and-coming tech startups such as Famberry, Kinopto, MagenTys and FeastExpress; to larger tech companies such as DotMailer.
Croydon has a large software developer community that regularly socialises and
groups such as ‘Croydon Creatives’ and Croydon Tech City’s fortnightly meet-ups
at Matthews Yard draw attendees from all around London, Surrey and beyond.
Benefitting from Croydon’s convenient proximity to central London and Gatwick,
new startups such as Couch are moving into the borough attracted by office space that is increasingly attractive to those feeling the rise in office space costs in the capital.
A self-sustaining tech startup ecosystem that is actively serviced
Supporting and managing Croydon’s burgeoning tech startup scene is the
Croydon Tech City management team. Through working with illustrious companies such as Kilburn & Strode, Kingston Smith, Bryden Johnson and Code Club to provide free City-quality legal, financial, and technical one-to-one advice and services on a weekly basis to Croydon’s tech startup community, alongside creating a strong roster of social and educational events.
Move to Croydon Tech City: Free for a year campaign
Croydon Tech City is a completely community-led initiative that – unlike East London’s Tech City – is not externally funded or propped up by central government. That said, Croydon Tech City has a cordial relationship with the council which works with us to support the tech cluster.
One example of this is the 'free for a year campaign' - an offer for tech and media companies to move to the borough. The offer gives startups access to Grade-A office stock with 100 per cent business rates waived for the first year.
As such, there has never been a better time to become part of Croydon’s tech startup scene.
Jonny Rose is the founder of Croydon Tech City, and product evangelist for content marketing technology company idio.
The next Croydon Tech City event is Thursday 20th March 7.30pm at Matthews Yard, Croydon.