Tuesday 22 June 2021 9:23 am

Google Campus closes in the end of an era for London tech startups

Google has decided not to reopen its London campus for startups, which formed part of the capital’s mini–Silicon Valley, saying it will offer services online.

The coronavirus pandemic and working from home has likely swayed the decision to shut the seven-storey East London campus.

“This shift demonstrated that, similar to the support we provide in other advanced startup ecosystems like the US and Germany, we can provide support for startups right across the country without a physical space,” Google for Startups said in a statement on the Campus website.

“We are therefore opening a new chapter for our work in the UK, and we will not be reopening our Campus in London.”

The capital campus, which opened in London in 2012 close to Old Street Roundabout, became known as ‘Silicon Roundabout’, as it was in an area loaded of young tech companies.

The co-working space offered events, mentorship and classes for growing businesses, and was heralded by then-Chancellor George Osborne who said it would help the UK become the “technology centre of Europe”.

The tech giant’s startup branch said the UK’s tech scene has grown and that the startup community “doesn’t need access to a single-shared physical space as much as it needs access to resources, mentors, and programs available at scale, anywhere”.

‘Melting pot’ of advisors

“This is sad news for the London startup community. With TechHub and now Google Campus leaving it feels like the heart of the early stage startup ecosystem – one that created countless successful startups between 2010-2020 – has been pulled out,” co-founder and CSO at retail technology firm NearSt, Max Kreijn, said.

Kreijn’s firm benefitted from the Google campus when NearSt was just starting out, as it was “a melting pot of other startups, talent, investors, events, media, and advisors.”

“These organisations had the financial capital, know-how and most importantly a genuine purpose to support startups before thinking about profit. It’s truly sad to see how the pandemic has impacted the ecosystem in London.”