Where tech start-ups originally clustered around Silicon Roundabout for the proximity of clients and the low rents in the area, costs are now exorbitant, with one desk costing the same as a decent sized office elsewhere. Young companies have started looking at alternative locations to minimise their outlay on office space and maximise their outlay on what counts - their product! So without further ado, here are five alternatives in and outside London areas to base your start-up.
Home to over 300 tech businesses and the trade organisation Croydon Tech City, Croydon is only a quarter of an hour from Victoria station. Where people pay over £300 a month for a desk near Silicon Roundabout you can get a desk for under £100 a month in Croydon. If you need more than just a desk, you can pay as little as £6.50 a square foot per month for high quality office space, though average prices sit around the £19.50 mark.
White City and Shepherd's Bush
Until recently home of the BBC, this has long been a creatives’ hotspot in London. Even though the BBC moved out last year, a large number of media companies remain. Prices are relatively low for London, and you can still be at a client's office in good time. Pundits say that this part of town has great potential without the puff from PR executives of being "the place to be" forcing up rents.
Even the City of London is cheaper than Tech City if you know where to look! More small tech companies are setting up there than financial institutions at the moment, right in the thick of the action.
London ranks low for cost of living and quality of life. Property prices are obscene and congestion is legendary. If you have the nerve to work outside you can get a lot more bang for your start-up investment bucks.
Silicon Fen in Cambridge has a combined turnover of £12bn annually - no small beer! Home of one of the best universities in the world and with top talent graduating from it, Cambridge is a relatively relaxed place to be - but at least as productive as anywhere else in the UK. You won't be lonely either, with over 1500 tech firms in the area. Semiconductor firm ARM started out in Cambridge and is now multinational, making the likes of Intel look over their backs.
Many Londoners find comfort in Bristol's cosmopolitan atmosphere with quick access to the countryside. Being just over 100 minutes from the City by train, you can balance quality of life with access to clients. Compared to London, the costs are tiny so you can invest more in your product and less in your office des res. It is buzzing with tech companies too - Aardman Animations (creators of Wallace and Gromit) are Bristol based and NVIDIA, Toshiba and IMDb have offices in the city. There is support for tech startups through SETsquared too.