#Croydon #TechCity: The First Six Months


By - Tuesday 16th July, 2013

On Thursday July 18th 7.30pm at Matthews Yard, Jonny Rose, Croydon Tech City’s founder, will be celebrating the movement’s first six months. Here he looks at what has been accomplished in that time and hints at what’s to come…

The Vision

This Thursday evening at Matthews Yard, we will be celebrating the first six months since the official launch of Croydon Tech City.

Whenever I talk about Croydon Tech City, I am acutely aware that it is actually three distinct parts: a community, an organisation, and the wider borough.

The Community

 To be sure, the most distinct part is the community: the individuals and the characters that congregate and connect, all of them building tech companies that could one day shape the world as much as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have.

When I first posited the idea of Croydon becoming ‘the second Tech City’ to an audience of twenty back in October of last year, it was hard to believe that in less than a year that audience would grow to a vibrant community of over four hundred tech founders, VCs, software developers, and miscellaneous well-wishers.

Croydon Tech City: a dynamic community of creatives, software entrepreneurs, and investors

From the Stop and Search app winning a Liberty Human Rights Award to Andrew Brackin of Bunchy winning $100,000 and a two year placement at the elite Thiel Fellowship in San Francisco, Croydon Tech City is in the business of cultivating a community of champions that restores civic pride and identity to the borough, as well as raising its national profile positively.

Yet, none of this could be done without an incredible team to support the Croydon Tech City vision.

The Organisation

Nigel Dias, Croydon Tech City co-founder, oversees partnerships and growth strategy

Nigel Dias, Croydon Tech City co-founder and Head of Investment, has orchestrated and formalized much of Croydon Tech City’s partnership and growth strategy. Without Nigel there is absolutely no doubt that we would not have support from such illustrious companies as Kilburn & Strode, Kingston Smith, Bryden Johnson, DotMailer, and Code Club.

More importantly, Croydon Tech City would have remained merely a monthly meet up with no direction.

Now we are an organisation that provides free city-quality legal, financial, and technical one-to-one advice and services on a weekly basis to Croydon’s tech startup community, as well as a strong roster of social and educational events.

Our efficacy as an organisation is set to only increase with the recent addition of Sarah Luxford, Associate Partner at European Leaders, and Andrea Holmes of Croydon software test lab Magentys.

The Wider Borough

Beyond servicing needs of the tech start-up community, Croydon Tech City is also starting to tangibly impact other part’s of Croydon’s community.

The Croydon Tech City: Code Club team – ensuring Croydon children are given valuable coding skills for free.

Perhaps the most notable example of this has been the Code Club project. Thanks to the efforts of the Croydon Tech City: Code Club group – steered by Tara Green, Monique Rebeiro, and Margaret Chatelier in partnership with DotMailer – there are now twelve Code Clubs in Croydon’s primary schools, with more planned over the next academic year. This is the first of several Croydon Tech City initiatives to make sure the borough’s young are guaranteed a secure and rewarding place in the workforce of the future.

Croydon Tech City was set up to do four things:

  • The promote the borough of Croydon
  • To champion digital and tech start-ups in the borough
  • To provide advice and support for digital and tech start-ups in the borough
  • To build a robust network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and developers in the borough

There is no doubt that in just a few short months we have not only laid the groundwork for these goals, but achieved them in full. However, there is still much work to be done.

The Future…

Whilst Croydon is experiencing an incredible renaissance and frisson of bottom-up regenerative community activity, it continues to be a borough that is socially, economically, and culturally inert.

This is not helped by a political class – of every ideology and creed – that is profoundly incapable of governing and preparing London’s most populous borough for the seismic economic and infrastructure requirements for the next decade(s), and a wider population that is criminally underskilled and unprepared to withstand the rigours of the ‘knowledge economy’ and increasing global competition.

It is my hope that Croydon Tech City becomes the chief vehicle through which these glaring deficits can be ameliorated.

With Croydon Tech City ambassadors on the ground in the city, San Francisco, and New York, regular enquiries from tech start-ups looking to relocate, and a plethora of on-going conversations with central government and speculative investors – needless to say the next six months promise to be equally, if not more, exciting!

As we continue the journey to become ‘the Silicon Valley of South London’, it would be an honour if you could join us this Thursday evening at Matthews Yard, to become part of our journey too.

Croydon Tech City FTW.

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. 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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