Alex Saint tells us why he initially set up in Tech City, and what his hopes for the area are.
Transcript of interview
(We) have been in the area for about six or seven years now actually, we had a previous business called dealchecker.co.uk which was a travel price comparison engine, and we, about two years ago we became aware of this model being operated in France and one of our investors came and said we really love this idea – I think you guys should have a look at it. And then in January 2011 we launched the site and effectively separated it away from the dealchecker business.
You know, I’m going back now probably six or seven years when we first moved to the area, when perhaps it wasn’t the technology heart that it is now, office space was much much better value, and still is I think much better value than the other obvious place for a media company to go which is Soho. And I think, you know, certainly it felt to us at the time and even more so than it does now, that you’re not getting great value for money over in the West End, and you know somewhere like here, where you’ve got great office space, you’ve got lots of technology companies nearby, in fact not just technology companies you’ve got lots of startup companies, small businesses with you know like-minded people, and there’s an atmosphere of entrepreneurialism, which is great.
We’ve dealt with a couple of PR companies who are based in in the same building and you bump into people in the same building, and you know make use of some of their services. There’s no there’s no great kind of official networking forum or hub ,certainly in this particular part of the area, and I could definitely see that becoming something that becomes more prevalent as more and more like-minded companies come to the area.
I’d love the the networking side of things to improve. I’d love for there to be a couple of more obvious forums for business owners and employees to get together and chat to each other. I think, inevitably there’s going to be some element of gentrification, but I’d like to think that the character of the area is not going to get too, you know, significantly changed. I think it is what it is because of the character of the area, as it is right now. I think the moment you see it becoming too popular and rents going up, effectively you’re going to see entrepreneurial companies moving elsewhere because, you know a low cost of doing business is going to be one of the things that attracts them here.
Further reading on Tech City
- Growth Business UK tunes into the facts behind the buzz around ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in London’s East End and meets some of Tech City’s most exciting entrepreneurs.