#Croydon #TechCity: An event every week for South London’s tech community


By - Wednesday 31st July, 2013

Live in South London and frequently at a loss about what to do with yourself? Look no further as Croydon Tech City seeks to create an exciting weekly events calendar for South London’s tech community…

There is always something to do in Croydon Tech City…

It has been an exciting first six months in Croydon Tech City and with summer upon us there has never been a better time to trek south of the river to see what South London’s growing tech ecosystem has to offer.

Inspired by the work of Three Beards in East London’s Tech City, Croydon Tech City has been working hard to create a roster of events for the local tech community that appeals to every ability, interest and background.

Events are the backbone of every tech community. The ‘meatspace’ is where business gets done and friendships are forged. Really good tech events provide opportunity for education, edification and serendipitous encounters that can make what can sometimes seem an alienating and hyper-competitive industry much more humane.

As the hirsute ones themselves put it:

“From our perspective, there are two critical factors that we felt London’s tech scene was missing in terms of events: consistency and accessibility.

We believe London’s tech scene deserved more than irregular £10 meet-ups or annual £1,000+ conferences – it needed something more, something regular, something where ideas could be shared and supported (no matter how outlandish), and those that had the courage to come alone would be welcomed as if they had arrived with an entourage”

Whilst Croydon Tech City as a community has yet to reach such a size as to warrant a similar divergence of events, the beginnings of an exciting social calendar each month is starting to emerge for South London techies:

Drinks @ Croydon Tech City

Drinks @ Croydon Tech City is an opportunity for a social with no agenda or speakers. A time to just relax and talk!

The first Thursday of the month plays host to ‘Drinks @ Croydon Tech City’ at Matthews Yard.

Much like Silicon Drinkabout, this is a casual time to meet and socialise with other local tech folk in a relaxed environment towards the end of a busy working week.

Most of the people who attend the drinks event are founders of tech start-ups and – unlike the developer-centric nature of Croydon Creatives – talk usually falls on topics such as the highs and lows of building, marketing and running an early-stage tech company.

As the main Croydon Tech City event is so busy and hectic, the evening drinks provide a much more sedate opportunity for the team and me to really get to know the people within the Croydon Tech City community.

Whether you are an aspiring tech entrepreneur or currently a tech founder looking to blow off steam or compare notes – Drinks @ Croydon Tech City is for you!

Croydon Tech City: Tech Surgery Week

The Croydon Tech City: Tech Team – available to meet one-to-one with the community and discuss any tech issue you might have.

One of key remits of Croydon Tech City is to “provide advice and support for digital and tech start-ups in the borough”.

One of the ways we have done this is by developing a strong team of local software entrepreneurs who either own or are senior partners in highly successful software companies.

Croydon Tech City’s tech experts include Paul Barnett, Richard Green, David Wilson, Simon Bird and Rob Wood, and each of our tech experts hold monthly ‘tech surgeries’ free of charge to anyone – whatever their ability or knowledge – who needs advice about starting or developing a tech idea.

These surgeries are always held in the second week of the month.

Are you a non-techie who has a tech idea but no idea where to start? Book into one of the tech surgeries that occur each month for a free session to help you get on your way. to book a slot.

Croydon Tech City: The Main Event

Croydon Tech City is primarily a monthly gathering of South London’s tech scene on the penultimate Thursday of the month. This crowd usually includes a rich mixture of software developers, tech start-up founders, venture capitalists and members of the public from various non-tech backgrounds.

Over the course of two hours, there are demos of tech products from founders and usually a discussion panel, with opportunities to meet people in-between. We actively encourage people with different skill sets to meet on the night (i.e. a person with an idea looking for a developer, a software developer looking for a marketing expert, and so forth).

During breaks between talks, guests can find various ‘stations’ around Matthews Yard where Croydon Tech City service providers such as Bryden Johnson, Kingston Smith and Kilburn & Strode can be found giving free advice to those trying to get their tech businesses off the ground.

The evening is meant to be as open and inclusive as possible and should be of interest whether you are technical, non-technical or just a member of public interested in learning more.

N.B. Currently enjoying a summer recess, Croydon Tech City’s ‘main event’ will be reconvening on Thursday September 19th at 7:30pm at Matthews Yard. To attend, please sign up here or .

Are you a tech entrepreneur based in South London and looking for others like you? Croydon Tech City night – on the penultimate Thursday of each month – is the perfect place for you to start.

Croydon Creatives

Croydon Creatives is a monthly group for web devs and designers which meets at Matthews Yard on the last Wednesday of each month.

Croydon Creatives has been in operation for several years (well before the Croydon Tech City movement started) and comprises of a wide group of digital natives; from the hoary pioneers of the web – world-weary, wise and unfazed by every new shiny ‘tech’ disruption – to sparky, younger types who are wide-eyed, inquisitive and completely indoctrinated by Smashing Mag.

The nature of Croydon Creatives makes it a great place to socialise if you are a developer who really knows his or her stuff. Mere mortals (such as myself), can quickly be left flummoxed by spirited debates about the efficacy of “MongoDB vs. Cassandra”, although reassuringly conversation often takes a turn to more accessible subjects such as football and UK garage!

If you are software developer who enjoys discussing the latest coding languages and all things UX and UI, definitely go along to Croydon Creatives.

Matthews Yard – The epicentre of Croydon Tech City

Saif Bonar, owner of Matthews Yard.

Making all of this possible is Matthews Yard. An incredible jewel in Croydon’s venue-shaped crown.

Whilst Croydon lacks the hipster cool of a Shoreditch Grind or the entrepreneurial corridors of an Innovation Warehouse – Matthews Yard does its best to facilitate the best of both worlds.

Matthews Yard has done a lot to cultivate a ‘café culture’ feel that really comes into its own on warm summer evenings when the local tech scene comes out to play. For those that venture in, you will find a fully kitted-out workspace, a live studio with 24/7 community radio, an art installation gallery and a theatre space.

It also helps that the proprietor is software entrepreneur Saif Bonar who was formerly UK Managing Director of Freelancer.

The grand (some might say nefarious!) scheme behind Croydon Tech City’s events line-up is not just facilitating opportunities to connect and socialise, but also to grow the community in line with the CTC ‘Maturity model’ developed by Nigel Dias (Croydon Tech City, Head of Investment Advice):

Croydon Tech City’s weekly events support tech entrepreneurs at every stage

Behind each event is the hope that the members of Croydon Tech City will avail themselves to progress to a fully-functional and profitable tech company.

In practice, one could in the space of a month:

  • Be inspired to develop an idea from attending Croydon Tech City
  • Organise a Croydon Tech City tech surgery to learn how to build the idea
  • Go to Croydon Creatives to find a technical co-founder
  • Return to Croydon Tech City to source a marketer, sales bod or VC
  • Pop over to a tech surgery for more help with developing your product
  • And rinse, repeat and wash!

Whilst Croydon Tech City still has a long way to go to create the cultural frisson East London enjoys, I find it very encouraging that we are getting there one step at a time.

There’s so much in Croydon to do – why not stop reading about it, come on down and help us create a culture and community that Croydon and South London at large can be proud of!

Croydon Tech City FTW


Currently enjoying a summer recess, Croydon Tech City’s ‘main event’ will be reconvening on Thursday September 19th at 7:30pm at Matthews Yard. To attend, please sign up here or .

For all other enquiries about Croydon Tech City, please .

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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