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Google Campus: Fueling the London Tech Ecosystem

 

Google Campus, located at the heart of London’s tech city, celebrates its first anniversary this month and can look back at a year in which it has made a large impact on fueling London’s ecosystem.

Google Campus has received a large amount of attention from the press and tech community alike since its opening. Many businesses and thought leaders have flocked to Campus – some out of pure curiosity and others with the determination to find young tech developers to help them realise their tech vision.

It is part of the technology revolution which, I believe will cause as much change to the world as the industrial revolution.

It was early in February 2012 that I realised that there was a number of people who were building products in their own bedrooms, professionals who were sick and tired of their 9-5 jobs and were starting a business on the side but weren’t suited to the conventional accelerator programs such as Seedcamp, Ignite100, Oxygen and Springboard now known as TechStars London, amongst others.

These programs cater to a small percentage of tech businesses and they tend to be very structured which, of course, has plenty of benefits, but I felt that there was room to create an idea validation platform that would serve as pre-incubator / pre-accelerator for those that are still building their products.

With that idea in mind I approached Google Campus in late April and was given permission to start running monthly Minimum Viable Product Demo Days. The first one took place on the 2nd June 2012 and to my surprise around 80 people turned up. Fast forward to April 2013 and since we began we have had in total more than 1000 people attending our monthly MVP demo days.

112 startups have taken to the stage, in front of peers and influencers of the startup scene to show off their products. Our monthly demos have now expanded to other cities such as Birmingham, Cambridge and most recently – venturing outside of the UK through the opening our new branch in Budapest, Hungary.

The Magic Formula

So what’s the magic formula? Well we focus on combining 3 key factors that are vital to success, yet not accessible to any startup founder: community, collaboration and capital.

The results have been nothing short of amazing. For example, partnerships have been formed which go on to co-found businesses, one of them being Sponsorshive, we have seen companies such as Sorted going on to join and
graduate from Oxygen, Tablecrowd and signkick have also made an impact. We have also seen others go on to raise angel investment.

All of these wonderful things wouldn’t have happened if Campus hadn’t opened the doors for us and provided us with the rich environment that encourages collaboration. At times, all you need is just someone else who believes in you.

The Future is Bright

When all you have is an idea and a minimum viable product; getting out of the building, talking to customers and receiving feedback is paramount to the success of any founder. This is evidenced in that many participants of various accelerators have come to present their products and get real world feedback to make sure they are building what people want to use.

Angel investors use The Founders Hive as a way to scout new talent, increasing their deal flow. We have seen a big increase of enquiries from big companies who want to collaborate with innovative startups and this is something that is very dear to our hearts. Safe to say; the future is very bright.

Eze Vidra, Head of Campus, summed it up perfectly when he referred to campus as ‘an open source building’.

So, happy birthday to Campus. We look forward to many more years of your impact on the entrepreneurship culture in London.

Do you have any memories of Google Campus in London? Let us know in the comments box below.

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