Silicon Valley is home to US tech giants like HP, Apple, Google and Facebook. But what about the UK’s very own version, Silicon Roundabout?
What is Silicon Roundabout?
Silicon Roundabout is the term used to describe the high concentration of technology businesses and startups with office space in a particular area of east London.
To begin with, tech firms started to get office space in the area because it had lower rents, making it more attractive to burgeoning businesses.
However, in an effort to create a competitor to other global high-tech areas, Government support has subsequently fostered Silicon Roundabout’s growth.
The area is also known as East London Tech City.
Where is Silicon Roundabout?
Silicon Roundabout is another name for Old Street Roundabout in east London – where many tech businesses have their headquarters.
The term is used to cover an area between Old Street and Shoreditch.
Why is it called Silicon Roundabout?
The name is a version of Silicon Valley – the original tech start up area near San Francisco in California.
Silicon is used to denote tech involvement because it is a key component of the semiconductors which are a fundamental part of many computers. When the term Silicon Valley gathered speed in the 1980s, ‘silicon’ became a widespread way of referring to computer technology as a whole – rather than just their semiconductors. So, although there probably aren’t many semiconductors made near Silicon Roundabout, the term ‘silicon’ has come to denote anything high-tech.
Which companies are in Silicon Roundabout?
From its early ‘Wild East’ days when it was occupied by mainly new companies, Silicon Roundabout now houses outposts of some of the biggest names in technology, including Facebook, Googe and Intel.
It also remains a key area for tech startups, and offers all the amenities that a fledgling company might need. The area reportedly has the third largest number of tech startups in the world after San Francisco and New York City.
Are there other concentrations of tech startups outside London?
According to a 2016 Tech Nation report, three-quarters of digital businesses operate in tech clusters outside London.
One such notable cluster is dubbed Silicon Fen and can be found – as its name suggests – near Cambridge University.