The areas around Old Street tube station, Shoreditch and Hoxton, just North of London’s Square Mile and on the border of East London, have come to be known, lightheartedly, as Silicon Roundabout, given that there is now a recognisable cluster of startups there. I’ve been tracking the trend since 2008. But what’s missing is the VCs. While, in Silicon Valley the VCs on Sand Hill Road are but a short drive from Palo Alto and Menlo Park, the VCs in London have preferred to stay in Mayfair, often close to the offices of the Limited Partners who back their funds. It’s not far away from Old Street – 3.2 miles – but it’s different in culture and scene. But to stay close to what’s happening in tech today it makes a lot of sense for investors to co-locate with the startups.
Leading the advance guard almost a year ago was White Bear Yard, a large space backed by three prominent Angel investors. Not strictly in ‘Silicon Roundabout’, but their Clerkenwell base is but a 5 minute cab or cycle ride away.
But soon the area will be welcoming well-known startup accelerator programme Seedcamp, dubbed the Y Combinator of Europe by some. We’ve heard they they are poised to move from their West End location to hang out with one of their invested companies, Editd.
And today news reaches us that leading tech VC Index Ventures is to take some desks in the area (we hear three), co-locating in Scrutton Street with new landlord Moo Studios, also home to Groupspaces, Lightbox, Soundcloud, Tech PR SparkPR and Tweetdeck. Index was an early investor in Last.fm and Moo in 2006, both scions of the ‘Roundabout scene’, which also encompasses Songkick in Hoxton and Moshi Monsters in Shoreditch.
Index will also now be a five minute walk from being able to conduct Open Office Hours at startup-coworking centre TechHub on City Road (underneath Editd), which contains startups including PeerIndex (Klout competitor), Squadify, Pora Ora, Twileshare, Teamly, and OpenSignalsMaps, among others, including Tech PR, Ballou PR. [Interest declared, I’m an advisor to TechHub].
Index says they want to “do something that gets us even closer to the teams we work with, hold open office hours to meet some of the new companies we don’t, and generally embed ourselves in what is one of the hottest startup zones in Europe.”
We’re told all of the Index team in the ‘West’ will be spending time at the new ‘East’ office at some point or other – but to be fair VCs are normally on planes if they are not in the office. They’ll now have to get the regulation T-shirt.