back to article Silicon Roundabout £50m THING to spew 200 startups A YEAR

Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson have unveiled plans to establish a £50 million "technical and creative institute" around the area dubbed the Silicon Roundabout at Old Street in London. The plans, set out at a conference organised by LSE Cities, propose an architecture-designed scheme housing 200 …

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  1. Paul J Turner

    Let me predict the outcome

    Here's a sample of what's to come, unless the U.K angel investors read this and wise up fast -

    https://readwrite.com/2012/12/03/lets-all-shed-tears-for-the-crappy-startups-that-cant-raise-any-more-money

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me predict the outcome

      Quite enjoyed that when I first read it.

      I'm all for starting the businesses of the future, but that's not what most of the startup scene seems to be about, it seems to be about a cycle of coming up with a derivative idea, hyping and pumping it until someone gives you some money, hyping and pumping it some more then trying to sell the company to someone so that the founders can make a successful exit, where 'successful' is measured solely by the size of the bags of cash. Meanwhile, basically none of them have effected any change AFAICT.

      Let me also say that when I was a Londoner the areas 'Shoreditch' and 'Old Street' were to be avoided on account of being packed full of insufferable tw*ts.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The beginning of the end

    Silicon Roundabout got going without any of these initiatives, sponsorships or political interference (some might argue, that's WHY it succeeded). To now have the government pitching in and hijacking the concept for it's own political ends is much more likely to bring about the demise of the area, rather than to help it.

    There are only so may people with an entrepreneurial spirit - you can't make more of them just by flinging money or mentoring around. The best thing any government could do to help small businesses to start, grow and flourish is to reduce the regulatory overheads and keep the hell out of the way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The beginning of the end

      Shoreditch filled with tech startups because it was cheap. It was cheap because it was nasty.

      The ongoing efforts to smarten the place up have caused rents to triple.

      Throwing money at new startups just so they can afford the new rents is Bloody Stupid, and the next wave of en- and nontrepreneurs will simply go elsewhere.

    2. TRT Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The beginning of the end

      Please...

      Indium Gallium Arsenide Roundabout.

      1. Anonymous Coward 101

        Re: The beginning of the end

        Or even:

        Sulphur Hydrogen Iodine Tellurium Roundabout

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Sulphur Hydrogen Iodine Tellurium Roundabout

          Hang on... I just worked out the acronym for that... that's not really a semiconductor substrate is it?

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: The beginning of the end

          It could be the "Shoreditch Hub for I.T."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While...

    ... I'm all for rounding up all the ponytailed, latte-swilling Julians and putting them in one place, I'd much prefer it if that place were somewhere like St Kilda, or Rockall.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    They really don't get it...

    When will it sink in that with hi-tech businesses you don't actually need to set up an expensive office in a place which means that your staff all end up spending half as much time commuting in hellish conditions as they actually spend in the office.

    Spend the money helping businesses rent office space as and when needed in any of the thousands of existing serviced offices that already exist in London and around the country.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: They really don't get it...

      Don't be ridiculous - you can't do anything without decent architecture! I read it in an architecture journal.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: They really don't get it...

      I agree in principal, but for startups being located in close proximity to specialized financial, legal and technical resources is a big deal. Face to face conversations will never be outdated.

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: They really don't get it...

        "Face to face conversations will never be outdated."

        But people who think they won't, will be outdated.

        We're talking technology startups here. What, precisely, do they need to "glad-hand" people for, if they're so good and capable of bringing in so much money to the area?

        Every technology startup I know that was successful, the founders were geeks who wouldn't know what "meet in person" meant, and probably thought it was something to do with Skype video-calling. And they got successful by bypassing traditional business and doing things that everyone said was "impossible" and they wouldn't get any money for.

  5. ukgnome
    Thumb Down

    Sigh

    Wouldn't it be better to invest this in the north east? A plethora of people that you can pay slightly less yet still be connected to major infrastructure.

    Lower rent, lower wages. Surely this is a no brainier.

    1. Ru

      Re: Sigh

      Well, ish.

      If you start a business somewhere which already has a decent number of businesses in the same sector, finding staff without requiring them to relocate becomes substantially easier. Also, if you're selling product to other businesses rather than consumers, proximity to the businesses you're selling to is a significant bonus (cos you can just pop next door for a meeting or support call).

      Establishing a new business in a location that doesn't have these two benefits makes what is already a tricky task just that little bit more difficult, and it'll take a determined crew to make it work. Government funding has never managed to fix this; it just has to happen "organically".

      1. Nifty Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Sigh

        Try Berlin - rents at one third, and decent uncrowded, cheap public transport.

        http://siliconallee.com

        1. Robert E A Harvey

          Berlin

          And two opera houses that have a different production every night...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sigh

          Trouble with Berlin is the rents are skyrocketing, albeit from a relative low compared to London, and the existing residents are starting to get very vocal about the newcomers. The remaining cheap bits are not areas you want to go to - run down estates out on the Eastern end of the city with serious crime problems, particularly focused on "foreigners" (where foreign can even mean people born and bred in other parts of Berlin).

        3. Neil Spellings
          Go

          Re: Sigh

          Or Croydon even...

          http://thecroydoncitizen.com/croydon-tech-city-2/

          1. ukgnome
            Thumb Up

            Re: Sigh

            I was thinking north east mainly because I worked there for EDS. It has huge DWP and BT data centres. A plethora of young university types. As well as cheap housing and a Greggs on every corner. Cheaper booze and the mighty night owls presenter, the flashing blade himself - Alan Robson .

    2. Tom Wood

      Re: Sigh

      North East. Or North West. Or Yorkshire, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, Wales, the South West...

      Basically anywhere but London/the South East would be a better idea.

  6. Caoilte

    ministers need a building which

    makes a nice photo op....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: invest in the North East

    Didn't we already try that with a chip factory up there? Can anyone remember the name?

    No, if it is to succeed, it must be inside the M25, preferably inside the MegaCongestion Zone.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Coat

      Re: invest in the North East

      Chip factory up North? Harry Ramsden's, you mean?

      GJC

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: invest in the North East

      Can anyone remember the name?

      Harry Ramsden's?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: invest in the North East

      The chip factory in the North Eastcould have been a couple of possibilities (maybe there are others too)

      1) a DRAM fab for Fujitsu, sited in Newton Aycliffe. It closed in 1998.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/164762.stm

      2) a DRAM fab for Siemens, sited on North Tyneside, opened 1997, closed (losing over 1000 jobs) in 1998.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/143085.stm

  8. Blitheringeejit
    Coat

    >Didn't we already try that with a chip factory up there? Can anyone remember the name?

    Er - Harry Ramsdens?

    1. Geoff Campbell

      The deja vu is strong today :-)

      GJC

  9. Blitheringeejit
    Megaphone

    Excellent location

    If new startups are going to learn the most important aspect of running a business - the effective avoidance and evasion of Corporation Tax - then Silicon Roundabout is an excellent location from which to watch and learn.

    Though personally I'd rather see the Silicon Roundabout types relocate in a proper offshore haven, preferably Rockall.

  10. Frankee Llonnygog

    Fat pipes and cheap office space

    That's all you need. Fat pipes are the one thing they ain't going to provide, and the office space won't be cheap.

    Digital industries don't need people to be physically congruous in a hub. The only reason for building a hub is for politicians to parachute in and boost their cool factor during election year. (Oh and possibly for Francis Maude to install his Savile-style casting couch)

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Fat pipes and cheap office space

      Fat pipes sound ideal for linking up branches of Harry Ramsden's.

  11. Robert E A Harvey

    And yet

    They see no problem in potential engineers facing a lifetime's debt for their education.

    When it comes to not-adding-up there is something olympic class about this mob.

  12. Anonymous Coward 101
    FAIL

    MediaLab Europe

    Remember that?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/04/mit_media_lab_ireland/

    Can anyone see any parallels here?

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