Tech City

Original post by NIR EYAL via TC

It’s time to abolish the reference check. The unpleasant process of calling up a job applicant’s former boss to gab about the candidate’s pluses and “deltas” is just silly. Maybe if we all just agree to stop doing it the practice will go away, like pay phones and fanny packs. Instead, I’ve learned a better way to hire that leverages a universal human attribute—namely, the fact that we’re all lazy.

What’s my beef with reference checks? They don’t accomplish the job we intend them to do. In a startup, you can’t afford to hire B-players. But reference checks, which are intended to do the screening, fail to eliminate these candidates who are just so-so. This happens because the person giving the reference has no incentive to say anything but good things about the candidate. Telling the whole truth, warts and all, could expose the former boss to adefamation lawsuit. And legal action aside, no one likes to speak poorly about an ex-colleague. It’s bad karma and just feels icky.

Instead of asking a reference to call you and spend an awkward half-hour chitchatting about pretty much nothing, try a technique I’ve come to call it the “average-need-not-apply” method. Though I’m not sure who invented it, the approach was taught to me by Irv Grousbeck at Stanford.

READ MORE

Original post by moneycontrol.com

Technology has changed the game for today’s job-seekers: candidates are searching on websites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, and asking employers questions using Twitter or a smartphone application, or app.

Companies, for their part, are turning to new channels to find talent, especially among “passive” candidates – typically experienced professionals who might not be actively involved in seeking a job, but could consider a career move if an interesting opportunity appeared on their screen.

This shift to new ways of finding candidates, and recruiting them, has been studied for several years by Potentialpark, a European recruitment and employer branding consultancy. The firm has surveyed employers’ recruitment websites since 2002 and has recently expanded its research to cover Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, mobile devices and apps, as well as companies’ career blogs.

More News From Financial Times
Migrant workers to face online visa checks 

Businesses face the generation challenge 
When valued employees face problems 
Number of UK apprentices hit record high 
Chinese companies face migrant worker lottery

According to Potentialpark’s Julian Ziesing, businesses have refined their online careers sites and recruitment processes over the past decade. But even organisations with sophisticated online tools have been taken aback by the rapid development of social networks, such as Facebook.

“Facebook career pages have mushroomed across Europe, the US and Asia,” he says. “We had thought employers would need more time to do this, but they have learned to overcome corporate communications restrictions quickly.”

But new ways of reaching candidates also present new challenges for employers. Companies need to ensure that the way they approach candidates is consistent across all channels, and complies with any local employment laws or cultural mores. This is no easy task, given the informal and often off-the-cuff nature of many exchanges on sites such as Twitter – and also the global reach of these sites.

“Websites still do the main job, and social media pages are satellites around it,” says Mr Ziesing. Career websites have become more interactive, he says, but they are not necessarily social. That is where Facebook and other services come in. “But there is also a difference between social and professional networks, between say Facebook and LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn has established itself as useful in some areas, as well as being a venue for job-seekers to demonstrate their experience and expertise. Facebook, for now at least, is more about putting the idea of working for a particular company in front of would-be candidates, especially students and recent graduates.

READ MORE

Comments Off on Media And Tech Startups Drive Manhattan Office Surge: Report

Media And Tech Startups Drive Manhattan Office Surge: Report

Posted by | 23 January, 2012 | Startups, Tech City

Original post by Huffington Post

(Reuters) – Manhattan, arguably the financial capital of the world, has media and technology companies to thank rather than banks for its improving office market, according to a report real estate services company CBRE Group Inc (CBG.N) released on Wednesday.

Featuring the likes of social media firms FourSquare and Mashable, online advertiser Yodle and computer software company AppNexus, the technology/media industry has become a powerful tenant force in Manhattan that has given Midtown South — long an afterthought market — the lowest vacancy rate in the nation.

Just a few years ago, the market and its older buildings were considered a fall-back when a tenant was squeezed out or couldn’t afford to be in Midtown.

“It’s all very different now,” said Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive officer of CBRE’s New York Tri-State Region.

Across Manhattan and its roughly 400 million square feet of office space, the tech/media sector accounted for 13 percent of leasing in 2011, up from 11 percent in 2005, according to CBRE. Meanwhile, the finance industry’s clout accounted for 26 percent of leasing down from 29 percent in 2005.

The tech/media-driven Midtown South market, bounded by 30th Street from river to river south to Canal Street, includes Union Square and Tribeca, Park Avenue South, and the Flatiron neighborhoods. It ended 2011 with an availability rate — the amount of space being marketed and ready to renovate within 12 months — at 8.8 percent, down from 12.5 percent a year earlier and the lowest in six years.

Lower vacancy or availability rates telegraph future rent spikes as the supply of rentable space is absorbed. The average asking rent in Midtown South was $45.34 per square foot, about on par with the $43.64 at the end of the prior year.

READ MORE

Comments Off on 6 Reasons to Move to New York City

6 Reasons to Move to New York City

Posted by | 12 January, 2012 | Business planning, Startups, Tech City, Trends

Original post by dave zohrob

New York City lacks the startup density of Silicon Valley, but there are plenty of reasons to start your next company here:

1. A great (and growing) startup scene. Soho, Union Square and the Flat­iron district form the new Silicon Alley, where you’ll have your pick of compa­nies, meetups and events. Great star­tups are doing great work here across indus­tries—in­cluding tumblrfoursquare10gen,Betaworksturntable.fmEtsySkillshare, and Harvest, among others 1. New York also has a sizable angel and VC commu­nity 2.

2. Bubble-free. SF often feels like a company town; in contrast, New York is a national hub for publish­ing, adver­tis­ing, fash­ion, food, and finance, to name a few. Being in the center of all these indus­tries is inspir­ing, and your startup can take advan­tage of this diver­sity.

3. The singles scene. Some folks might rank this as #1; I’m trying not to assume too much. But if you’re a single straight guy or gal in SF or Moun­tain View, you (or a friend) have likely complained about the singles scene in the Bay Area.

Forbes ranks New York as the best city for singles, putting it above San Fran­cisco, which clocks in at #7 3. For single guys, the numbers don’t lie—there are 210,820 more single women than men in the New York metropol­itan area, while the Bay Area boasts a surplus of 65,000 men. 4

Plus, being a hack­er/en­tre­pre­neur is more unique in New York—telling someone you make iPhone apps elicits inter­est, not eye-rolls. (Try it.)

4. Official support. Mayor Bloomberg wants to turn New York into a tech hub, and city offi­cials reach out to local entre­pre­neurs. The NYC Economic Development Corporation offers great resources including info on city incen­tives and discounted office space for star­tups.

READ MORE

Comments Off on An Icelandic startup using London’s Tech City as a launchpad –my talk at the British Embassy in Brussels

An Icelandic startup using London’s Tech City as a launchpad –my talk at the British Embassy in Brussels

Posted by | 7 January, 2012 | Project management, Startups, Tech City

Original post by Geir Freysson 

I had the pleasure of being invited to give a talk to a selection of some of the most exciting technology companies in Belgium and Luxembourg at the British Embassy in Brussels along with Richard Barnes the deputy mayor of London (who speaks Norwegian – now you know that),  Rossana Lawes, Director of Development at the Olympics Park Legacy Company, James Blakemore of Sector Marketing and Chris Moore from Tech City.

My talk was titled “Why Tech City?” and was about our experience of running a company in Iceland which is targeting London as its first market for international expansion.

About us: A tale of two cities

For a company like ours it makes perfect sense to base our development team in Reykjavík rather than London. Office space in London can cost more than fifty times what it costs in Reykjavík per square meter, the talent pool in Reykjavík is rich and the work ethic is strong. Skype was originally developed in Tallin, Estonia, which is still the company’s largest office.

But business development is a different story. With under 320 thousand inhabitants Iceland isn’t a big market. So every Icelandic startup is founded with the idea of expanding outwards. So where do you go? Silicon Valley? Berlin? Shanghai? We chose London.

The opportunity: London is huge – and it’s not just a technology hub

“Why London rather than Silicon Valley?” We get asked this a lot. Our flagship product, Brand Regard, is a software-as-a-service brand asset management application. Our target users are marketing and branding professionals and one of our routes to market is via advertising and branding agencies. There aren’t many cities in the world that rival London when it comes to targeting these kinds of companies.

Would it be easier for us to raise more funding if we were based in Silicon Valley? Maybe. Would it be easier to get traction? Not necessarily. And funding usually follows traction – not the other way around.

READ MORE

Comments Off on Creepy Facebook, No More Wallets, and NYC Tech Rising:Predictions for the Internet in 2012

Creepy Facebook, No More Wallets, and NYC Tech Rising:Predictions for the Internet in 2012

Posted by | 4 January, 2012 | Business models, Social media, Startups, Tech City

Original post by BetaBeat

Soon, there will be no results when we search "wallet" in Google images. (whatsinyourbagnyc.tumblr.com)

Predictions! What do New York techies think will happen to the internet-centric economy in 2012? We asked some smart founders, VCs and members of the startup ecosystem where they think tech, the internet and the New York tech scene are headed in 2012 (assuming the world doesn’t end either due to the apocalypse or SOPA, that is). Without further ado!

The internet, united, will never be defeated

“SOPA and PIPA are both soundly defeated by bipartisan popular support and Congress realizes it shouldn’t tamper with one of the few American industries still creating jobs and out-innovating the world. We in the private sector will innovate solutions for piracy (people will pay for easy access—like Netflix!); the answer is not government intervention that ultimately doesn’t solve the problem and breaks the internet in the process.” -Alexis Ohanian, Reddit, Breadpig and Hipmunk

“2012! The tech community has not really seemed to care much about the upcoming election. SOPA and #Occupy pierced that head-down obliviousness during the last quarter. People will start to care, and not just because Ben Smith is going to Buzzfeed (though that was a signal that, folks, a new market is about to be unleashed). This is the first election year that is truly happening in the age of social media. Hopefully it won’t mean we have to pay attention to Santorum.

“Also! Something very big, or at least highly embarrassing, is going to be captured/disseminated/hive-mind-sleuthed-out/otherwise made horrifically public during this election season. And it will change the game. (Though if it’s that Newt likes to keep his socks on, I don’t want to know.)” -Rachel Sklar, Change the Ratio

New York City rises

“NYC will be recognized with the new distinction as being the world’s “Startup City Incubator”  for smart young people to come and build their new businesses with the proactive support of the world’s largest and easiest to connect to pool of talented mentors. Also looks like 2012 will be the year that the growing startup community begins to connect to the underserved NYC communities who needs support to help get their entrepreneurs up to speed. More syndication between angels, angel groups and VCs to fund more deals faster.” -Brian Cohen, New York Angels

The Facebook effect on NYC tech talent will be a 10 percent lift in compensation for top engineers. Gilt Groupe has a big/surprising exit. Under pressure of thin operating margins, Amazon takes them out (eBay also possible). Marketplaces prove to be superior ecommerce business since no overhead of warehousing inventory.

“$200B online retail market is growing 15 percent per year. 20 percent of that spent on ad tech. Something big is happening in NYC ad tech—maybe just another industry for which NYC is becoming the capital of the universe. Maybe more ad tech startups take root in NYC.” -Dave Carvajal, DavePartners.com

“Deciding year for Foursquare, can it turn on a dime? IAC will continue a mild downward trend.  Barry Diller is done.  The building is still cool. The tide turns in my ongoing war against The New York Times Company (who no longer have courage).” -Josh Harris, Pseudo.com

“SxSW Breakout App. Foursquare was the breakout app at SxSW 2009. GroupMe was the breakout app at SxSW 2011. Sonar will be the breakout app at SxSW 2012.

“Brett and team are hard at work on some killer features, with hopes to launch a blockbuster 2.0 in time for SxSW 2012. Their team has had an influx of bright, new talent recently and I’ve spent some time getting to know them. Since they haven’t formally announced anything yet, I won’t say any more than this: look for Sonar to crush it this year in Austin.” -David Kay, freelance mobile developer, Xoogler and Startup Bus veteran

READ MORE

Comments Off on TECH ANGEL’S 10 COMMANDMENTS FOR STARTUPS

TECH ANGEL’S 10 COMMANDMENTS FOR STARTUPS

Posted by | 26 December, 2011 | Data in startups, Software & technology, Startup reading lists, Startups, Tech City

Original post by BusinessWeekly

Cambridge angel and tech entrepreneur Sherry Coutu hammered home the importance for startups to harness their ventures to the right mentors and investors from Day One when she addressed a Tech Entrepreneurs Week summit in London.

Business Weekly and its new social network spin-off for startups – CambridgeElevator.com– heard Coutu deliver 10 commandments on how to choose and work with great angels and investors.

Coutu emphasised that it was a big wide world and if startups couldn’t find the most effective advice within the UK they shouldn’t be afraid to cast the net globally.

She urged startups to forge strong relationships with individuals within the angel and VC community rather than entities.

Coutu’s 10 commandments for startups are:-

1.Choose angels/mentors who have an amazing network of contacts in your industry.

2.Choose an individual rather than a ‘firm’. Personal track-record and value-add are critical.

3.Choose an angel/investor AFTER talking to their other investee companies first (thefunded.com).

4.Choose an angel investor who has gone down the path you need to go down (raising money/floating).

5.Choose an angel investor mentor who has RUN a company to chair your board.

6.DO NOT  choose an investor who has restrictions which prevent them from investing more in your company.

7.Choose to listen to your investor and make sure they have time available for you.

8.Choose to communicate with your investor(s). Amazing what you can find out!

9.Know that great angels and investors help you with three sets of things:  talent, customers and strategy.

10.DO NOT try to delegate the process to someone else!

Expanding on these tablets of wisdom, Coutu said startups had to realise that the choice of mentor/investor was absolutely critical to success. Some alleged gurus were poor quality and it was important to know the difference. LinkedIn acknowledges that it wouldn’t be such a success without the quality of the investors it had, she said.

READ MORE 

Comments Off on City tech startups give Wall St. run for its money

City tech startups give Wall St. run for its money

Posted by | 20 December, 2011 | Business planning, Finance, Startup marketing, Startups, Tech City

Original post by PHYLLIS FURMAN via NYDailyNews

Ex-financial services execs launch tech companies in N.Y.

Jon Stein is founder and CEO of Betterment.com, an online brokerage firm based in SoHo.

Jon Stein is founder and CEO of Betterment.com, an online brokerage firm based in SoHo.

GOODBYE, Wall Street. Hello, Silicon Alley.

The economic meltdown has been rough for the city’s financial services employees and with a new round of layoffs in the making, the road ahead is looking grim.

But for many young Wall Streeters, New York City’s bustling tech startup scene is providing jobs — and a shot at creating their own fiefdoms.

Jon Stein, 32, is one of those who made the successful leap.

The former senior consultant at First Manhattan Consulting Group launched Betterment.com, an online brokerage firm.

Based in SoHo, he now has 13 employees, six of them from Wall Street. The site, which went live in May 2010 has 11,400 users and is growing at a rate of 20% to 30% a month.

Here is what he had to say:

QWhy are Wall Street bankers moving into the tech startup world?

A Wall Street no longer holds the allure that it used to. Many Wall Streeters, corporate lawyers, and the like, are sacrificing salary in the pursuit of more meaningful careers.

They want to be building productive, next-generation products like Betterment. In my career as a consultant to banks, I saw an industry that needed serious reforming. Investing didn’t have to be that hard and inaccessible. Founding a startup created the best vehicle for genuine change.

Q Are more financial types making the leap?

A Five years ago, no one in New York was thinking about startups. Today, it’s a common conversation in every social circle, at every dinner, and the Wall Street types I know are curious about what it’s like to work for Betterment and other startups.

Many are disillusioned with their jobs, and want to build a better way. This is especially true for the younger generation.

READ MORE 

Comments Off on Interview with Andrew Humphries, UK’s Tech City

Interview with Andrew Humphries, UK’s Tech City

Posted by | 23 November, 2011 | Business planning, Social media, Startup marketing, Startups, Tech City

Original post by Travis Oberlander via socaltech

(Editor’s note: Los Angeles has always had strong ties to business in the UK, and the UK government has been very active in reaching out to Los Angeles technology firms in recent years. On the invitation of UK Trade and Investment, socalTECH Contributing Editor Travis Oberlander has traveled this week to London for us, to compare and contrast the efforts in the UK to establish their own technology center with our own efforts in Southern California.)

This week, entrepreneurs from all around the world have converged upon East London  to attend the Tech City Entrepreneurs Festival. The festival is part of an ongoing  initiative by the British government to encourage development and growth in the city’s  tech startup community. We caught up with Andrew Humphries, the Tech City Champion, to learn more about growth and ambitions of London’s Tech City.

 What is the Tech City Investment Organization? 

 Andrew Humphries: The Tech City Investment Organization or TCIO is the result of an  initiative announced by David Cameron, the Prime Minister in November of 2010. He’d  seen the development that was going on in Tech City, the organic growth of technology,

digital and creative businesses that was happening in an area to the east of the City of London, stretching out to the Olympic Park. Basically realizing that, although there was an organic cluster growing, if the government could get involved and provide a level of support and encourage that growth, that we could actually develop that faster and encourage investment from overseas businesses and create more employment more quickly. So the TCIO was created to encourage that growth and publicize the opportunity.

What are some of the specific things that the TCIO has done to achieve its goals?

Andrew Humphries: There are four key things that we are doing. The first is the kind of thing that we’re doing today at the Entrepreneurs Festival which is to encourage young, overseas and British businesses that Tech City is the place to live, work, start and grow their businesses. Second thing that we do is encourage large organizations, companies like Google, Intel and Facebook, to invest in Tech City. They may not put a development lab here or whatever it happens to be but, certainly, the kinds of nascent businesses that we’re talking to need those kinds of businesses to partner with and to sell to and so we encourage those larger businesses to become involved. The third thing that we do is encourage finance. We’re talking to angel investors, VCs and banks to make sure that there are finances available for the kinds of businesses that we’re attracting so that they can scale and grow. Finally, the fourth thing that we’re doing, is to encourage the skills that these kinds of businesses need in terms of development staff and young people learning the kinds of technologies that they need to learn. So we’re working with the Universities, colleges and schools to make sure they’re putting the right programs in place to develop the skills that will fuel the growth in the future.

READ MORE

Comments Off on David Cameron unveils Tech City Map

David Cameron unveils Tech City Map

Posted by | 16 November, 2011 | Premium, Tech City

Original post by Olivia Solon via WIRED

The Prime Minister David Cameron has unveiled a new Tech City Map plotting the 600 technology businesses in the East London area.

Tech City Map, created by developers at Trampoline Systems and designed by Playgen, pulls in streams of social network data for all of the businesses in the area to help analyse their influence. The Tech City Map follows in the footsteps of Matt Biddulph’s original Silicon Roundabout map as well as Wired’s very own version, produced in 2009.

Meanwhile, to support the  growth of businesses in Tech City, the Government has expanded the Red Tape Challenge, which invites entrepreneurs and investors to tell the government where rules and regulations hinder innovation.

Cameron welcomed the growth of Tech City — from around 200 businesses in November 2010 to 600 today. He said: “As a government, we are determined to continue doing everything we can to help support and accelerate this growth. We have already taken action such as introducing the  Entrepreneurs Visa and tax breaks like the Enterprise Investment Scheme. We are also looking at new ways we can protect intellectual property. But we are not done yet — we’re looking forward to continuing our work with the community in Tech City to further support them to grow”.

Eric Van Der Kleij, CEO of Tech City Investment Organisation, said: “We are not looking at a bubble here. This is real business creation and jobs based mainly on organic growth, encouraged by the right set of business-friendly policies.”

In addition to launching the map, there were some key technology announcements, including Cisco’s pledge to partner with UCL and Imperial College London create a  Future Cities Centre in Shoreditch, which will research and commercialise technologies in the area of smart infrastructure. Cisco is also to launch a National Virtual Incubator to provide money, technology and human resources for start-ups.

READ MORE

Comments Off on News: Springboard Accelerator Expands Into Tech City

News: Springboard Accelerator Expands Into Tech City

Posted by | 13 November, 2011 | Business planning, Startup marketing, Tech City

Original post by TechCityUk 

                                                        Springboard Accelerator Expands Into Tech City

London, 9th November 2011: Today Springboard, the 13 week accelerator boot-camp programme originally based in Cambridge, announced its expansion to TechCity London with its applications opening immediately for its inaugural programme which will start in early 2012.

Backed by an angel investor syndicate and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Springboard is a 13 week mentoring programme which combines intensive mentoring as well as up to £15,000 of investment capital.

Springboard is a member of the TechStars Network that consists of independently owned and operated regional organizations that operate a start-up accelerator program with a model similar to TechStars. This would be TechStars Network’s first programme in London, United Kingdom.

Springboard recently completed its first programme in Cambridge following its spinout from Red Gate Software – with teams coming from both the UK and also overseas including Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and New Zealand.  Since Springboard’s Investor Day 90 days ago, one of the teams has secured funding – with the expectation that over half the teams will go on to secure additional funding.

Colin Willis, Managing Director of Hotspur Capital Partners said: ‘Having worked alongside Jon Bradford, the MD of Springboard, I recognise the massive value mentors with business experience and strong networks will deliver to entrepreneurs to advance their businesses’.

David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars says: ‘From my experience helping to set up accelerators around the world, I have no doubt of the impact such a mentor led program can have on the teams and also the wider community. There is clearly a lot buzz around London TechCity and it represents a natural home for such a program. TechStars has known and worked closely with Springboard, and we’re big fans.’

READ MORE

Comments Off on Graduates encouraged to apply for start-up scheme

Graduates encouraged to apply for start-up scheme

Posted by | 11 November, 2011 | Business planning, Startups, Tech City

Original post by Georgina-Kate Adams via Startups

Entrepreneur First opens applications with event at East London Tech City

A government-backed scheme has opened applications to graduates who want to start their own businesses.

The Entrepreneur First scheme, which was launched by David Cameron in March, opened the application process with an event at East London Tech City – featuring presentations from MP Ed Vaizey and established graduate entrepreneur David Langer.

Graduates who successfully apply for the scheme will benefit from a two-year programme of training and mentoring, to help them start their own businesses. Langer, who co-founded GroupSpaces aged 22, is one of the Entrepreneur First mentors.

Reflecting on his own graduate experience, Langer said: “When we founded GroupSpaces in 2007, we were in a tiny minority of people taking this route, with many people who were more than capable opting for traditional graduate schemes in the City.

“Founding your own high-growth company out of university is always going to be challenging, however I believe it’s a very fulfilling and viable option for thousands of the most ambitious, driven graduates in the UK.”

Graduate entrepreneurs selected to enter the scheme will also be provided with access to funding via a network of investors; free legal advice and software; training developed by entrepreneurs; and the opportunity to network with major businesses and investors.

READ MORE

Comments Off on Blog: A quick chat with…Elizabeth Varley

Blog: A quick chat with…Elizabeth Varley

Posted by | 3 November, 2011 | Business models, Tech City

Original post by  TechCity UK

It’s been a few weeks, but here’s the latest of our series of video interviews with some of the people in and around Tech City. This week, we speak to Tech Hub CEO and founderElizabeth Varley about Tech Hub, the area as a whole, and her tips for start-ups looking to make it big.

More Tech City’s videos

Comments Off on Blog: Tech Weekly Tech City Talks #2

Blog: Tech Weekly Tech City Talks #2

Posted by | 29 October, 2011 | Business models, Business planning, Finance, Startup reading lists, Strategy, Tech City, Trends

Original post by TechCity UK

The second of the Guardian Tech Weekly Podcast talks on Tech City took place on Monday evening, this time focusing on the issue of innovation and entrepreneurship and looking at ‘what government, investors and the people at the coalface believe is necessary to inspire innovation and to generate globally competitive enterprise’.

As with the recent debate on skills, the panel and the audience (and Twitter) engaged in a lively debate which covered off a  variety of topics around the issue of how best to encourage and foster an environment in which innovation and entrepreneurship are second nature.The podcast is now live and available to listen to or download here, but in the meantime we’ve summarised some of the key points raised below. Please note that it is intended to be an indication of the lines of argument rather than a verbatim transcript – those seeking quotes should refer to the podcast itself.

This week’s panel consisted of:

The inherent individuality of businesses, particularly in the creative industries, and as such the difficulties involved in finding a strategy which can assist all of them within an area / cluster, regardless of size. Key to doing this is to establish a rapport / dialogue with local community businesses to establish their goals and needs. This has worked well in Brighton over the past decade, especially in terms of the gaming industry, which drove the development of the South Coast’s technology cluster by choosing the city as its home (Tara Solesbury)
Comments Off on Google Secures Seven Floor Building To Tap London Talent

Google Secures Seven Floor Building To Tap London Talent

Posted by | 30 September, 2011 | Startups, Tech City

Original post by Mike Butcher via TC

Since 2008 we’ve been covering the gradual emergence of a cluster of technology startups in East London. Hell, we’ve even made films about so-calledSilicon Roundabout. But it wasn’t until the Prime Minister suddenly appeared in the area to declare it a focus for government policy that larger tech companies started to take notice of what some random policy advisor decided to brand “Tech City“. Since then there has been a litany of pledges pledged by corporates like Cisco, BT and Facebook to keep Number 10 Downing Street happy, but not a huge amount of, well, action. All that changes today with the news that Google is to rent, lock stock and barrel, for the next ten years, an entire seven-floor building in the area.

This is a pretty big deal. The site (4-5 Bonhill Street, London, EC2A 4BX) is (according to thisadvert) large: 25,392 square feet, at £19.50 per sq ft per annum. Expensive to rent, but that would in no way reflect the purchase price of the lease which runs until at least 2022. Plus, the building will have to undergo a full refurbishment before being ready to open in 2012.

Google says this is the “first step in its commitment to support the Tech City start-up community” – in fairness it announced it would do ‘something’ in the area at the time of the PM’s speech last year.

READ MORE

————————————————–

Follow us on Twitter: @Techmeetups

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonSiliconRoundabout

Stay updated with the latest news and events happening around the London Silicon Roundabout!

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the E-mail subscription option on the upper right part of this page.

Original post by   via CNN Money

From left: Skype CEO Tony Bates, Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Mason Cohn

* During Facebook’s big product launch event yesterday at its Palo Alto headquarters, Mark Zuckerberg announced some interesting new stats: users are sharing twice as much content now as they did the same time last year, with its 750 million users — yes, 750 million — sharing 4 billion items a day. Zuck and crew also unveiled three products: group messaging, a new full-sized buddy list design and Skype-powered video chat. While all are welcome additions, it was the last feature which made the biggest splash. So far, it’s almost everything it ought to be: easy-to-download and easy-to-use, with some pretty stellar video quality. No group video chat a la Google + “Hangout,” though. (Fortune)

* It’s just over a week old, but according to Search Engine Land, Google + appears to be off to a good start, at least if anecdotal evidence is anything to go by. The Web site already has 1,000 followers. (In comparison, it took the site 17 months to achieve that via Google Buzz.) Meanwhile, tech blog Mashable has 9,000 followers to its name. (Search Engine Land)

* According to The Wall Street JournalApple ordered components for a new iPhone it’s planning to launch by the end of September. If sources are to be believed, the newest model will closely resemble the iPhone 4, but offer a thinner and lighter design along with an 8-megapixel camera. (Wall Street Journal)

READ MORE

————————————————–

Follow us on Twitter: @Techmeetups

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonSiliconRoundabout

Stay updated with the latest news and events happening around the London Silicon Roundabout!

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the E-mail subscription option on the upper right part of this page.

Showcase panel to feature Founder-President Dominic Wheatley, of “Tech City,” London-based company SocialGO, the first “Social Website” maker.

Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare for their trip to Canada and California (Pic: PA)

LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Variety’s Venture Capital & New Media Summit, taking place at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Friday, July 8th, will explore how UK innovation is now on course to rival that of Silicon Valley and how the British investment community is driving technology innovation – so critical for the growth of the evolving technology and entertainment industries in the UK.

The summit will showcase London’s “Tech City” initiative, which was launched by the U.K. government to build on the existing cluster of technology companies in Shoreditch, East London. Dominic Wheatley, Founder and President of SocialGO, which creates next generation “socially-enabled” websites, has been invited to participate in a panel discussion beginning at 4:00pm. Along with Variety, the media summit is being presented in conjunction with the UK Trade & Investment Group, who are pulling out all the stops for this panel in particular; it will feature HRH Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duke and Duchess ofCambridge, in the very first appearance of their California visit.

SocialGO, a leader in private, or “niche” social networks, is launching the first website creation platform made for the social web. The company is one of many based in “Tech City”, an area that is home to one of the largest concentrations of small, fast-growing digital technology companies in Europe and intends to give California’s Silicon Valley a run for its money as a global hub of technology. Variety’s Venture Capital and New Media Summit will showcase some of its emerging technology stars, including SocialGO.

READ MORE

————————————————–

Follow us on Twitter: @Techmeetups

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonSiliconRoundabout

Stay updated with the latest news and events happening around the London Silicon Roundabout!

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the E-mail subscription option on the upper right part of this page.


Original post by  via Mashable

Gabe Zichermann is the author of Gamification by Designand chair of the upcoming Gamification Summit NYC, where top leaders in the field – such as those profiled here – get together to share insight, key metrics and best practices. Mashable readers are invited to register with special savings at GSummit.com using code MASH10.

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems. In other words, it means taking the best lessons from games like FarmVilleWorld of Warcraft and Angry Birds, and using them in business. Whether targeted at customers or employees, across industries as diverse as technology, health care, education, consumer products, entertainment and travel, gamification’s impact can already be felt.

While some have criticized the concept of gamification as shallow or demeaning, the initial findings from gamification specialists are nothing short of astonishing. Regardless of your business model, the following seven gamified innovations should inspire you to strategize via game analysis.


1. Make a Market: Foursquare


The first incarnation of the location-based networking field was littered with carnage, leading many to write off the entire concept. But Foursquare’s founders, veterans of the now defunct Dodgeball, succeeded with an ace in the hole: game mechanics. Exposed to the concept while working at Area/Code (Zynga’s recently acquired New York City-based game design shop), Dennis and Naveen concluded that mobile social networking would work if you were to change the dynamic from multiplayer to single player.

Instead of depending on the action of the crowd to provide intrinsic reinforcement (e.g. “Hey, you’re around the corner. Let’s grab a beer!”), Foursquare overcame the empty bar problem by becoming a single-player game. The user competes for badges and mayorships whether or not anyone is there to meet him. In the process, Foursquare proved that location-based networking wasn’t doomed to fail, that simple game mechanics can affect behavior, and that you can engage 10 million customers — all while raising $50 million.


2. Get Fit: NextJump


When you listen to NextJump CEO Charlie Kim describe his zeal for physical fitness, you immediately understand the energy that has propelled this interactive marketing platform into one of the nation’s fastest growing businesses. But keeping fit isn’t just Kim’s personal goal — he told me it’s also a practice he believes his employees should value as a tool for improving their lives, reducing company insurance costs and preventing employee absenteeism. To achieve those goals, NextJump installed gyms in its offices, and built a custom application that enabled employees to check in to each workout. Ultimately, they rewarded the top performers with a cash prize. After implementation, around 12% of the company’s staff began a regular workout regimen.

But Kim wasn’t satisfied. By leveraging the power of gamification, he retooled the fitness “game” to become a team sport. Now NextJump employees could form regionally based teams, check in to workouts and see their team performance on a leaderboard. Leveraging the game themes of tribalism and competition had an astonishing effect on behavior. Today, 70% of NextJump employees exercise regularly — enough to save the company millions in work attendance and insurance costs over the medium term — all the while making the workplace healthier and happier.


3. Slow Down and Smell the Money: Kevin Richardson


In many countries, speed cameras snare thousands of drivers each year — a quick shutter flash earns a miserable ticket in the mailbox. In some countries, particularly in Scandinavia, ticket amounts correspond with the driver’s salary, rather than his speed. But Kevin Richardson, game designer at MTV’s San Francisco office, re-imagined the experience using game thinking.

His innovative Speed Camera Lottery idea rewards those drivers who obey the posted limit by entering them into a lottery. The compliant drivers then split the proceeds generated from speeders. Richardson used gamification concepts to turn an negative reinforcement system into a positive, incremental experience.

When tested at a checkpoint in Stockholm, average driver speed was reduced by 20%. If the plan were scaled across the U.S., the results could mean thousands fewer injuries, millions of dollars worth of reduced costs and substantial environmental benefits.


4. Generate Ad Revenues: Psych & NBC/Universal.


 

Psych is a popular program on the USA Network, but these days, creating value for TV advertisers means connecting to the web and social media in creative ways. Enter Club Psych, the online brand platform for the show, and among the first major media platforms to get gamified.

The brainchild of NBC/Universal executive Jesse Redniss, Club Psych implemented gamified incentives to raise page views by over 130% and return visits by 40%. The resulting rise in engagement has generated substantial revenue for the company, bringing registered user counts from 400,000 to nearly 3 million since the launch of the gamified version. The media conglomerate has since embraced the strategy across properties, bringing gamification to ratings leaders like Top Chef and the The Real Housewives.

Other content publishers, like Playboy, have seen similar results. Their Miss Social Facebook app has achieved an 85% re-engagement rate and 60% monthly revenue growth with gamification.

GAME MECHANICS IN ACTION 5-7

————————————————–

Follow us on Twitter: @Techmeetups

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonSiliconRoundabout

Stay updated with the latest news and events happening around the London Silicon Roundabout!

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the E-mail subscription option on the upper right part of this page.

Original post by Pete Swabey via Information Age

The network equipment vendor hopes to fund entrepreneurs whose ideas can make the captial smarter and more connected. But on what condition?

In January 2011, networking equipment maker Cisco announced a goal to invest a staggering $500 million in East London’s technology sector over the next five years.

The investment project, dubbed the British Innovation Gateway (BIG), was welcomed by prime minister David Cameron. Cisco’s investment will “help create many new jobs and opportunities, and support our drive to diversify our economy and generate sustainable economic growth”, he said at the time.

So what is Cisco going to spend the money on?

Broadly speaking, its intention is to invest in and support London-based start-ups, especially those that are focused on “smart and connected communities”, Cisco’s jargon for technologies that integrate business, government and civil networks.

For Cisco, the “enlightened self-interest” comes from the fact that if successful, these technologies will drive demand for network equipment and services.

The BIG programme is designed to do this in a number of ways. The most conspicuous components of the programme will be two ‘innovation centres’ – one located in Shoreditch, the other somewhere in the vicinity of the Olympic park.

What exactly is an innovation centre? “That’s a very good question, actually,” says Russell Craig, public sector manager for Cisco’s Internet business solutions group. “It’s a very broad concept, and we’ve deliberately refrained from being too precise about what it is.”

READ MORE

————————————————–

Follow us on Twitter: @Techmeetups

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonSiliconRoundabout

Stay updated with the latest news and events happening around the London Silicon Roundabout!

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the E-mail subscription option on the upper right part of this page.

Original post by  via TechEYE

Facebook is snubbing the so-called sillicon roundabout – home of start-ups around the Shoreditch area – to move into Covent Garden instead.

It will put Facebook in tube-taking distance to the East London Tech City, proposed by the government to be a bustling hub of start-ups and established tech powerhouses. Facebook has committed to a developer garage for the project.

Meanwhile, Google is interested, and so is Intel – along with Barclaycard and plenty of others.

But anyone who has taken the tube from the crowded Covent Garden in the evening would probably know it’s worth giving a miss.

Covent Garden’s 42 Earlham Street  office building was packed full of 600 Expedia employees who will now set up shop in Angel, Islington. It’s a fair bit closer to Old Street.

READ MORE TO FIND OUT FACEBOOK’S U.K. HEADQUARTERS

————————————————–

Follow us on Twitter: @Techmeetups

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonSiliconRoundabout

Stay updated with the latest news and events happening around the London Silicon Roundabout!

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the E-mail subscription option on the upper right part of this page.

UA-20544118-3