Why Smarta moved to Croydon Tech City


By - Wednesday 2nd April, 2014

Smarta COO Matt Thomas explains why he and his colleagues traded SE1 for CR0


Photo by Mike Beecham, used with permission.

When you make it your mission to help people start and grow smart businesses, have high-profile backers such as Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden, and your founder, Shaa Wasmund, is a former Female Entrepreneur of the Year and bestselling business author, it puts you under healthy pressure to ensure your own house is in order.

That’s why I’m confident moving to Croydon Tech City will prove a savvy move for us here at Smarta, the UK’s number one website for business advice, tools and loans. Having lived in south London for over ten years and moved to Croydon eighteen months ago, I’ve become a bit of a Croydon fanboy. While it undeniably lacks the gentrification of Kensington or the coolness of Shoreditch, I believe that’s to its advantage.

Croydon’s a town undergoing rapid change and primed for growth. Its transport links – not just to London but the south and motorway network – are excellent; it boasts a huge catchment area and, importantly, is affordable.

Smarta’s qualification for Croydon’s 100% Business Rate Relief Scheme, funded by the London Mayor’s Regeneration Fund, is what caught the attention of those board members who were more sceptical of a switch from our previous location in SE1. The abundance of affordable office space with similarly tempting rent-free periods secured the deal.

Add in the 1,000-strong (and growing) tech cluster centred around the excellent Matthew’s Yard co-working space and thriving events scene driven by the Croydon Tech City crew and it’s a very practical and exciting base for Smarta and other ambitious fast-growing companies.

From today, we’ll fast-track all applications from Croydon (and surrounding areas)

We’re keen for Smarta to help further build Croydon into a business-friendly destination for startups and entrepreneurs. There are thousands of ‘how to’ articles, blog posts and video interviews with some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs for free at our website, www.smarta.com, as well as our free-to-enter awards The Smarta 100 and BreakThrough 50. Smarta Business Builder is a toolkit of business planning and accounting software, including website with free domain, branded email and legal templates and helpline. We also have online business courses!

Smarta is also an official distributor of the Government Startup Loan Scheme, so if you’re looking for an unsecured business loan of up to £25,000 and free mentoring from an established entrepreneur, contact us at www.smartastartuploans.com. From today, we’ll fast-track all applications from Croydon (and surrounding areas).

Foremost, we want to get out and start helping Croydon businesses directly. We’ll be running regular free speaker and networking events, will be active at all Croydon Tech City events and will make ourselves available to hear how else we can help.

As well as me (matt@smarta.com), our Financial Director Ishaq Malik (ishaq@smarta.com), Marketing Manager Nima Kafai (nima@smarta.com) and Editor Sarah Akwisombe (sarah@smarta.com) all live in Croydon and are equally passionate about making a genuine contribution.

Whether you’re looking for business support, a business loan or mentor or think we can work together in some way, please reach out. Together I’m sure in time we can add another zero to that 1,000-strong tech cluster!


Steve Reed (MP, Croydon North) and Gavin Barwell (MP, Croydon Central) will be discussing Croydon Tech City on Thursday April 10th at 7pm at Croydon Conference Centre.

Registration is required: either by signing up to the event on Eventbrite or  with your name to confirm your attendance.

Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas is COO at Smarta, overseeing all business activity and strategy alongside founder Shaa Wasmund. A business journo by trade, Matt was part of the founding team at Smarta having previously edited Startups.co.uk and a number of B2B trade titles. He’s a small business obsessive and stopped counting the number of entrepreneurs he’d interviewed when he got to 1,000. He’s produced content or campaigns for the likes of Business Link, Chambers of Commerce, Investors In People, FSB, PPA and brands such as RBS NatWest, Lloyds TSB, O2, Intuit, Sony, Toshiba, Baker Tilly and KPMG. Matt’s authored two books, ‘Starting your own shop’ and ‘the smarta way to do business’. He’s advised on writing for the web, blogging and using social media for business, hosted live events and regularly speaks on anything small biz. In 2011, Matt was named in the Courvoisier Future 500, ‘a collection of the most talented, inspirational and forward thinking people in the UK’.

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