UK technology entrepreneurs received a boost today with the official launch of the Google-backed TechHub site in London designed to provide a focal point for innovation in the UK tech startup industry.
The site was opened for a sneak preview to invited guests on Friday, and is situated in Old Street, an area of London dubbed 'Silicon Roundabout' thanks to its prevalence of startups.
TechHub will offer entrepreneurs a shared workspace area, meeting rooms and areas for presentations and networking events. A device-testing room for mobile developers is planned in the coming months.
"Developers drive important innovation on the web and mobile," said Google Android developer advocate Reto Meier.
"Google is happy to support TechHub's aim to provide developers and budding tech entrepreneurs with an affordable, buzzing and creative working environment in London."
The centre's organisers hope to differentiate the service from others in the capital and further afield by focusing on product-oriented technology companies.
Co-founder Elizabeth Varley told V3.co.uk said the idea was to create a space for the tech ecosystem, including developers, investors, tech journalists and user experience designers who can all help to work with and support technology entrepreneurs.
"The co-working is a service to support the community; it's about creating that hub," she said.
"A lot of the time you learn best from others going through or who have just been through the same issues. It's really that kind of support and working around like-minded people, providing opportunities to share ideas and experience."
Sponsors Google and media firm Pearson plan to be involved "quite tangibly" with the project going forward, hosting events at the TechHub as well as encouraging staff to spend time talking members through their ideas, according to Varley.
Annual membership is £300, and desk space membership is £275 + VAT for those looking to make the centre their permanent base. This includes free access to member-only networking and other events, internet access and preferential rates for meeting room booking.
The launch event generated generally positive feedback from the developer and tech startup communities.
One product development manager for a UK tech startup praised the relatively low cost of membership, and told V3.co.uk that it could help foster a positive creative environment for those signed up to use its facilities.
"It's the serendipity of working around people doing the same thing," he explained. "If you have a problem you can't solve on your own, you go for a coffee, sit down and someone else can help you solve it."
He explained that the US startup scene benefits from many more centres of this type.
"There are places for startups like The Hub, but a lot of them are focused on other industries," he added. "The biggest difference is it's really focused on technology and specifically the internet/web industry."
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