Google is preparing to open its new communal workspace in East London's Tech City “in a few weeks,” and has launched a website for startup companies to register their interest.
First announced in September 2011, the new co-working space, known as “Campus” will offer work areas, events space, relaxation points and a café, spread over seven floors. Together with partners TechHub, Seed Camp and Central Working, Campus will also host events, speaker series and mentoring programmes for entrepreneurs.
“Campus aims to fuel the success of the UK startup community,” Google states on the new Campus website. “We invite entrepreneurs who want to grow their ideas and networks to join us... Let's fill this town with startups.”
Startup companies can register their interest for either a dedicated desk in Campus's co-working space at 4-5 Bonhill Street, or a seat at its high-speed Internet café. Prices have not yet been announced. Users can also apply to host events through the website, and put forward their ideas for useful activities.
“Google is a terrific example of a major technology business that understands the importance of nurturing as well as benefiting from the communities where they operate,” said Eric Van Der Kleij, CEO of the Tech City Investment Organisation, in a statement back in September. “This investment will pay dividends for them as well as contributing to the long-term success of the Tech City.”
Campus will join a fast-growing group of east London workspaces, offering cheap desk space for startup entrepreneurs. These include the Trampery, TechHub, the Hoxton Mix, London Hackspace and, most recently, General Assembly – an “urban campus” from New York that combines hot-desking and meeting places with an educational programme, offering evening classes and courses in subjects such as iPhone app development, search-engine optimisation and product management.
A selection of the world’s biggest technology companies have also set up bases in Tech City. Cisco is partnering with University College London and Imperial College London to create a Future Cities Centre in Shoreditch, and is also working on a National Virtual Incubator (NVI), to link technology clusters around the country.
Intel is also creating a High Performance Computing cluster that can be used by companies located in Tech City. This will reportedly provide access some of the world’s most advanced technology, giving them a competitive advantage in bringing products and services to market.
A report released last week by property consultancy Knight Frank revealed that take-up of central London offices from IT and telecoms firms doubled in 2011, despite a slowdown in demand from other industries. Major technology firms acquiring offices in London in 2011 included Apple, Expedia, Facebook, Google, Groupon, Nokia, O2, and Lastminute.com.
Knight Frank’s research also found that rising technology firm demand was a London-wide phenomenon, and not restricted to the Shoreditch/Old Street roundabout area. Distinct concentrations of technology sector deals were found in Clerkenwell, Covent Garden, Farringdon, Fitzrovia, and the Southbank.