How 'techy' is London's Tech City? Answer: Actually, not very

Summary:London's Tech City has tripled in size, according to the British prime minster yesterday. But in reality, it appears to be no greater in size than a year ago.

Amidst the excitement and jollies of joy from London's Tech City yesterday, where British prime minister hailed the UK's rival of Silicon Valley a "success", some keen eyed people have noticed that the supposed 'technology epicentre of the country' doesn't actually appear to be as 'techy' as it should be.

Though the Tech City square-mile of around 600 firms has tripled in the last year alone, some are more sceptical over the apparent 'growth', with many of the firms under the Tech City heading are classified as not technical as one would hope.

(Source: Tech City Map)

Over 800 companies are listed on the Tech City Map, launched yesterday by the British prime minister himself, but looking through the list, while some prominent technology companies make their mark on the list, many simply hold no technological value whatsoever.

Such big name players include technology news site TechEye, Twitter client TweetDeck, sound-sharing site SoundCloud, CBS-owned Last.fm, and data analytics firm YouGov, all feature in the top 80 percent 'influence' rate on the list. But dozens are simply marketing and public relations companies, lawyers and solicitors, graphic designers, consulting firms and in one case, a darkroom provider for photographers.

Hardly very techy, one might think. Compared to the likes of Twitter, Google, Microsoft or Facebook, it's hard to compare a small startup that invests in photography equipment, or social media strategies, for example.

But nevertheless, with a quick ten-minute search, many of these companies seem vaguely technical, with only a small handful of the overall 800 odd displayed on the map bear any relevance to web or software development, web service production or suchlike.

In a blog post by financial services company Duedil, which blew the whistle on the "real tech startups" in the area, said that it had identified only 200 digital companies of high growth and a strong sense of technology orientation.

(Source: Duedil)

Unless having an office full of computers qualifies as a 'technology' company, then Tech City would appear to be a resounding success.

When asking Tech City how a technology firm or business is classified as a 'technology firm' as per the Tech City Map, officials did not respond to comment.

Related:

Topics: United Kingdom, Google, Microsoft, Software Development, Start-Ups

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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