In part three of our Tech City special report, V3 meets Richard Moross, founder and chief executive of Moo, to hear his experiences of working in east London's Tech City and whether he thinks the area will rival Silicon Valley anytime soon.
Moo is a printing start-up known particularly for its business cards, but also for greeting cards, stickers and postcards. Customers order their merchandise online and Moo ships the products to wherever they are in the world.
Moo has been based in east London's Old Street area for five years and, unlike the other start-ups V3 interviewed, did not move to the area for the start-up scene, but because of its printing history.
"We moved to this area because it's the home of printing in the UK," said Moross. "Clarkenwell is still home to the oldest printer in Europe, which is 150 years old, and the area has the types of building that have housed printers for years, with high ceilings and industrial spaces."
Moo has also stayed in the area because it's "inexpensive", which benefits the business and the staff who want to live near their workplace.
"Many of our people work here because it's inexpensive and a cool part of London to be in. A lot of our staff live in north east London," said Moross.
Moross was a newcomer to Old Street, and was not up to date with the latest government initiatives to develop the area into a Silicon Valley counterpart, although he did share his thoughts on how the area can benefit start-ups.
"I'm afraid the phrase 'Tech City' sounds too ominous. I'm excited by Shoreditch and Hoxton and by the grass roots movement that has brought tech companies to these areas, but I'm not sure of the full implications of the 'Tech City initiative'," he said.
"It's a broad term that stretches out far east, so it's too hard yet to see what it really is and what it's really going to be. I think the creativity that comes out of this area is exciting, and the social scene is really awesome. It's great for employees to get great lunches in cool places and go out in the evenings."
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