Ben WoodsEurope Editor
Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.
Google’s Campus events and co-working space in London is celebrating its second anniversary since opening its doors back in 2012.
To properly mark the occasion, Google commissioned some research about Campus and the Tech City area of London, finding that Campus membership had swelled considerably – up from around 10,000 members at this time last year to more than 30,000 today.
The picture painted by the results of the survey is an overwhelmingly positive one. According to the results, 71 percent of founders expect their turnover to increase in the next year and, on average, startups have secured £75,145 of funding in the last 12 months, equating to more than £20 million across everyone interviewed. According to the figures, 88 percent of business founders at Campus are optimistic about their chances of growth. But then, startup founders are some of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met.
“Campus continues to grow in members, investment and, most significantly, importance to the British economy. Only two years in, it has been incredible to see one of the world’s most exciting technology hubs explode here in London,” Matt Brittin, VP of Google for Northern and Central Europe, said.
According to the survey, Campus companies currently have 1,948 staff in total – and estimate that there will be 4,382 people in their employment a year from now. See, there’s that unabashed confidence again.
While reports of growth are seemingly a good thing for the local area (and the wider tech scene in the UK as a whole), the problem is that the figures and general momentum updates for Campus likely won’t translate to all of Tech City, let alone the rest of the country. It’s also not exactly an unheard of phenomenon for companies to establish themselves and create a business in the UK and Europe, before looking to relocating to Silicon Valley to focus on the US market or IPO options.
Interestingly, while the majority of Campus’ members are from the UK (47 percent), there are actually people from 97 different countries counted among the membership list. The survey also showed that 40 percent of Campus members are now over the age of 34 – up from 28 percent in March last year.
As organisations such as Campus grow, that area of town is now increasingly being recognized as an area brimming with accelerators and incubators – but fewer and fewer true standalone startups. As rents continue to soar, once-local businesses have no choice but to ship out in search of lower overheads. Campus may be growing, but the presence of huge accelerators backed by some of the most recognizable brand names in technology is always going to have a knock-on effect for all those founders and startups that don’t make it into the programme.
While it’s undeniable that the Tech City area has seen a few successes, it’s hard to see how far the ripple effect really spreads across the tech ecosystem – and even harder to see an effect further across the UK. One thing is for sure though, with Tech City UK’s remit now looking focused on London rather than the country as a whole, the mayor will need to start spelling out exactly how London will become ‘the tech capital of the World‘. Let’s also hope that not all the focus goes on Tech City, the capital’s startup founders have plenty to offer in other areas like Croydon too.
Featured Image Credit – Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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