Boris Johnson must invest in Croydon’s Tech City, says founder Jonathan Rose


The Mayor of London outlined his plans for the future of the city’s technology clusters.


By Jaskaran Bahia

If London Mayor Boris Johnson really wants the capital to have a dominant technology sector he should share the wealth, said the founder of Croydon Tech City today.

Mr Johnson yesterday outlined his plans for the future of the city’s technology clusters, and his hopes that London one day could become the world’s technology capital. In addition to East London’s Old Street, the location of his speech, he talked of growth from other sections of the city.

“Our tech offer now spans the capital in its entirety, from Tottenham to Croydon and from Wembley to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park,” he said.

As London’s fastest growing technology cluster, Croydon warranted a mention, but there are claims that until city hall starts investing in areas other than East London, Mayor Johnson’s words are empty. Croydon Tech City founder, Jonathan Rose, called for monetary support for Croydon’s Tech City in the same manner the city has supported the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ on Old Street.

Currently Croydon is home to more than 1,000 technology companies, despite a lack of any outside funding.

“We’re entirely self-sufficient right now,” said Mr Rose.

“The council provides incentives, like waiving business rates for a year, because they recognise the benefit to Croydon in terms of prosperity and education, but really I feel we deserve some funds in order to sustain our growth. Right now we’re outstripping East London.”

Mr Rose was inspired to establish Croydon Tech City after witnessing the success of his East London counterparts, and believing it was an ample opportunity to take advantage of Croydon’s redevelopment. With 23% growth since 2011, Mr Rose believes that Croydon may one day rival the government funded hub

 “Silicon Valley (California) and Silicon Alley (New York) have 60 and 20 years head start on us, respectively. Maybe one day we’ll get there, but that’s a long way away,” he added.

Apps such as FeastExpress, which allows someone to book a table or order food from nearby restaurants, and SmartDresser, which allows users to virtually try on clothes, are helping fuel innovation in the Croydon scene.

One advantage the borough has over Shoreditch is the presence of MagenTys, a lab for companies to test their software and hardware. Combined with the lower rents offered it is an attractive prospect for start-ups.

Mayor Johnson’s vision involves a London Technology week from June 16-20, which Croydon Tech City has already arranged an event for, and a group of technology ambassadors who will encourage foreign investment into the sector.

Photo courtesy of BackBoris2012, with thanks.

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