East London, especially the Tech City and Shoreditch area is a major European hub for tech companies. Much of these tech companies are start-ups offering a variety of creative and innovative services. Tech City especially has a reputation for creativity. Entrepreneurs from all over the world reach out to this hub, seeking to leverage the facilities on offer, such as the presence of a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, financiers, creative artists and others, support services offered by Universities and government and more. Very few places in the world match such facilities.
Fast Growing Companies
Prominent start ups that have made it big in recent years include 7Digital, Eventbrite, INQ Mobile, Last.fm, Mendeley, Mind Candy, Moo Print, Playfish, SpliceTV, Spotify, Stylistpick, Ustwo, We7 and more.
Splice TV, a Shoreditch based post-production company deserves special mention. Established in 2002 with a single editing suite housed in a 500 sq. ft. leased premises, the company has since then grown to having 19 suites and employing 22 full time staff in a 3300 sq ft freehold facility.
Mind Candy is a leading online social gaming developer. The “Moshi Monsters” online game it has developed has alone contributed about $100 million in sales. The company is valued at over $200 million and employs 100 people. It plans a major expansion that would double in head count and increase its valuation.
Ustwo designs user interface for mobile operating systems and applications.
Buongiorno employs more than 100 creative designers and offers a plethora of mobile solutions. The Tech city is the major business hub for this Milan based company.
Small to Medium Companies
East London is home to about 514 small to medium tech companies. An overwhelming majority of such companies offer creative and innovative services in the media and entertainment spheres.
East London is awash with design agencies. A few popular ones include 120 Degrees, Atmos, Digit, IDEO, Living Group and Luckybite. Companies such as Albion London, Biff New Media, Blyk, Geocast, Kontera, Sparkpr, Carter, Codilink and Profusion specialise in digital advertising and marketing.
There are literally hundreds of gaming and media creation companies in East London. A few prominent ones are Digi Nut, MoodShare, Red Ant, Uber, Lab10 and Mind Candy.
Companies such as Ad.IQ, BigDog Interactive, Open Signal Maps, Barometa, Dabblerr.com, Nestoria and Squadify focus exclusively on developing mobile and online apps.
Popular companies such as 7Digital, Folder Media, Last.fm, MusicMetric and State 51 provide sound and music development.
While much of the thrust is on start-ups and small and medium companies, East London also has its fair share of big companies noted for their creativity and innovation. Three companies that top this list are Barclays, BT and Virgin.
Google, noted for its creativity world over, has developed a seven-story office building in Bonhill Street to run workshops, showcase new products and provide office space for local start-ups.
The government is committed to promoting creative companies in East London. A case in point is the £1 million funding competition launched by Tech City Launchpad in May 2011, aimed specifically at creative and digital businesses in the Old Street and Shoreditch areas. Companies interested in availing themselves of this funding enter a competition and the successful participants receive a maximum of £100,000 or 50 percent of the total project cost estimate, whichever is higher, for their creative projects.
Among the winners of this competition in 2011 were Clearer Partners, a media innovation studio that provides hands-on rapid prototyping and bespoke development services for organisations such as the UK Parliament, BBC and others.
The Technology Strategy Board match projects with funding by conducting workshops that involve business angels, venture capitalists and large companies interested in supporting start-ups.
The IC tomorrow digital test bed programme, located at Shoreditch, allows application providers, service providers and rights owners the facility of a trial management system.