Search

Kentish Town becoming new hub for London’s tech startups

10:00 02 June 2014

Kentish Town Cluster. Left to right: Zoe Cunnungham, James Eder, Rowan Davie, Amy Catlow, Tom Kihl. Picture: Mark Hakansson

Kentish Town Cluster. Left to right: Zoe Cunnungham, James Eder, Rowan Davie, Amy Catlow, Tom Kihl. Picture: Mark Hakansson

Archant

Tech firms have backed Kentish Town to become the capital’s newest hub for digital startups – and one day rival Old Street’s famed Silicon Roundabout.

The Kentish Cluster, a new community for NW5’s tech-minded businesses, hopes to build a network of companies that can “put Kentish Town on the tech map”.

The area already lays claim to being home to some of the country’s most innovative new businesses, including the fastest-growing tech company in the UK (MVF Global in Ryland Road), the UK’s largest parenting website (Mumsnet.com in Highgate Road), the 2013 winner of Digital Business of the Year (The Beans Group, Highgate Studios, Highgate Road) and an award-winning software designer (Softwire, also in Highgate Road).

Bizarrely, even the world’s very first laptop – the Grid Compass by designer William Moggridge – was born above a dry cleaner’s in Kentish Town Road, and was used on NASA’s Space Shuttle throughout the 1980s.

But this hidden pool of tech history and talent has so far remained under the radar.

It’s something James Eder, founder of the Kentish Cluster and youth marketing company The Beans Group, wants to change.

“Moving to Kentish Town last November, we discovered a number of great businesses not only in our building but in the whole area,” he said.

“We thought it was about time that we introduced ourselves and got together. There has been an obvious focus on Tech City and there is a perception of Old Street and Silicon Roundabout as being the centre for what is happening in the tech space.

“But I think it means other areas haven’t had the chance to shine and as the Kentish Cluster shows, we’ve got some of the best award-winning businesses in the UK situated right here in north London.

“So there’s an untapped opportunity to create something great here.”

The group plans to meet up regularly to share ideas, and its first gathering at The Grafton in Prince of Wales Road in April attracted about 80 people.

While it’s only early days, collaboration between firms has already extended beyond buying each other a pint.

Zoe Cunningham, managing director of Softwire, said: “People mistakenly think that technology and inter-connectedness mean that we can interact just as well with companies anywhere in the world, but the truth is that we can form much more meaningful relationships by simply talking to our neighbours.

‘‘By getting to know the businesses near us in Kentish Town we have found long term clients and collaborators and also had a lot of fun.”

London’s claim to being 
Europe’s “capital of technology” was strengthened this month after it was revealed by Mayor Boris Johnson’s inward investment agency that record numbers of foreign technology firms had based themselves in the city.

Cluster members say “low rents and strong transport links” make Kentish Town a good place for businesses.

Mr Eder said: “Pretty much all of the firms I spoke with at the last meet-up said they were hiring – so it’s obviously a community that’s going to get bigger.”

The next summer event is being held at The Camden Brewery.

Visit kcdrinks.eventbrite.co.uk and kentishcluster.com for more information.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Jude Goodall,10, Sawdah Mohamed, 11, with headteacher Kate Frood collect money at the school gate to help pupils at their Ebola-hit sister school in Sierra Leone. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Schoolchildren in Kentish Town are on the frontline of a fight to save an Ebola-hit school in Sierra Leone from permanent closure

Yesterday, 18:12
Ian Campbell outside Hendon Magistrates' Court. Picture: Polly Hancock.

A man who threatened to burn down a bus packed with Jewish women and children has been jailed for five months for his anti-Semitic tirade.

Yesterday, 17:00
Left to right: Jeremy Clynes, Deborah Warland, Hetty Colchester and Jonathan Seres, who all helped to set up Garden Suburb Community Library. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Campaigners who took over running their local library to save it from closure fear that new multi-million pound cuts will “decimate” Barnet’s library service.

Yesterday, 16:45
Will Jenkins, of Highgate School, was a finalist in the 11-14 category at the 50th Wildlife Photograher of the Year Awards

When an 11-year-old Highgate schoolboy leapt out of a swimming pool to capture a striking dragon-like iguana on camera, he had no clue the snap would class him among the best young photographers in the world.

Most read news

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition