Cheers mates! London is our featured city for the month of May!
Want to know about the bustling tech scene in London? Our London City Meetup team lead, Danielle Nanton fills us in on the best co-working spaces, the startup scene and some tech companies based in London that she looks up to.
What makes the tech scene in London unique?
Danielle Nanton: The tech scene in London is concentrated around Shoreditch and Old Street, with collaborations across the UK including Oxford and Cambridge University and a multitude of other cities, noticeably Croydon, which is just on the outskirts of London.
The roundabout located in Old Street is also dubbed Silicon Roundabout, due to the high concentrations of tech startups and entrepreneurs. There is strong support from the Mayor of London as well as the Lord Mayor of London (yes they are both different) for the tech scene and also supporting women in tech. There are weekly drinks which take place at a variety of venues every Friday around the Old Street area and this is where people of the tech scene meet and mingle from a variety of organisations and backgrounds. The Tech London Advocates also advocate for the tech scene.
There is a large scene which seeks to get more people into tech, such as STEMettes (getting women and young girls into STEM careers, I have spoken at a few of their panel events), Apps for Good (puts tech professionals into the classroom to teach tech to students by creating apps - I have participated in this as well) and a variety of other groups.
What are some of the best co-working spaces in London?
Danielle Nanton: Google Campus is the one that I hang out in the most as they have a lovely cafe downstairs and put on a number of great educational, networking and social events. Other places that I have been to and highly suggest include Rainmakers Loft and The Bakery Accelorator, which have both hosted Women 2.0 along with Google Campus.
Level 39 in Canary Wharf gave me a scholarship to attend Code First Girls and also hosts a few of my friends who have startups. They have amazing food — smarties and jellybeans — all throughout the space, and an iPhone coffee maker.
What are your thoughts on the growth of the startup scene in London?
Danielle Nanton: There have been a number of success stories with regards to the startup scene in London, including moo.com which produces business cards and started in Shoredich and Moshi Monsters which still exists in London.
There are so many co-working spaces and accelerators, as well as opportunities for funding through investors and loans. The startup scene is vibrant and has an uplifting culture which is supported politically and socially within the startup scene in London. There is also a strong collaboration between city (which refers to big financial business in London) and tech/startup scene, which I see as getting stronger going forward and economically benefiting all involved.
What was the best story you've ever heard from a London Founder Friday/Meetup event?
Danielle Nanton: We are lucky to have a number of really interesting speakers, I would have to say that the story that I could most relate to is that of Bindi Karia, of Silicon Valley Bank in London, who was a speaker at a Women 2.0 Meetup event. She is originally from Canada (so am I!) and after having met, we always say hello; most recently I saw her at the Guildhall two days ago for a Tech London Advocates meeting which engaged the tech community with the London political community.
What are three tech companies that are based in London that you admire and why?
Danielle Nanton: There are too many people within the London Tech Scene who I met through Women 2.0 to choose just three, so I will choose the two companies that spoke at London City Meetups; Zomato and Vastari.com. The ladies who came to speak from, and represent, these companies, are strong independent role models who people like myself can aspire to. They are willing to answer questions and provide feedback even through they are very busy with their successful businesses. I admire these companies and their founders for spending the time with Women 2.0 so that we can learn from them and learn about their tech companies.
About the guest blogger: Danielle Nanton is the owner and editor ofwww.techcityblog.co.uk. She is passionate about the London Tech Scene and is one of two London moderators for Women 2.0. She is also an active member of Junior Chamber of Commerce International - Canary Wharf, the coordinator for Tedx Canary Wharf 2014 and actively participates in Apps for Good. She was chosen as the class Ambassador for Code First Girls out of the Canary Wharf Accelerator Level39 for the Advanced group. She enjoys networking and connecting people.