Cisco and partners open new Tech City innovation centre

Prime Minister David Cameron today officially opened IDEALondon – an initiative between Cisco, DC Thomson and UCL based in East London’s Tech Citythat aims to nurtre and grow startups in the area.

Speaking at the centre – the first of its kind in Tech City – the Prime Minister outlined how the strengths of the respective partners would accelerate growth in Tech City which, in turn, would benefit the country.

The partnership behind the centre – the Innovation and Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEA) – is a collaboration between Cisco, DC Thomson and UCL and will provide bespoke support, tailored to individual start-ups, with mentoring and a strategic acceleration programme.

It will initially house around fifteen companies and around one hundred entrepreneurs and staff.

Those housed in the facility have been chosen by the partners through different routes: Cisco through its British Innovation Gateway programme (BIG) has granted space to the most promising digital and tech start-ups it has discovered and UCL Advances – UCL’s centre for entrepreneurship and business interaction – will select the best and brightest of UCL’s digital entrepreneurs for intensive support to enhance their growth.

Media organisation DC Thomson will focus on supporting start-ups working in digital content creation, advertising technologies, ecommerce, educational technologies and analytics. The company has recently welcomed its first two start-ups at IDEALondon and will provide mentorship and guidance on commercialising and scaling business propositions.

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As well as providing space for start-ups, IDEALondon will host UCL researchers working at the forefront of digital innovation to develop new products and services to take to market. 

The centre is much more than a workspace; it provides dedicated business expertise, access to a structured programme of support and collaboration on technology challenges.

In addition, IDEALondon will host the UCL DECIDE project, in collaboration with UCL, DC Thomson and the BBC in what is intended to be the world’s largest ‘living lab’ for digital and media projects. It will see the university utilise its staff and student body of 30,000 as a closed community for testing and evaluating digital products in pre-commercial development.

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IDEALondon is open to any start-up that feels they could benefit from working closely with Cisco, DC Thomson and UCL, and the three partners in the centre will also offer a comprehensive programme giving access to consultancy, mentoring and funding.

‘IDEALondon will ensure the future growth and prosperity of start-ups across the area by giving them access to all the opportunities working with a world-leading university can provide– access to advanced lab facilities, computer scientists and a closed community market research programme – right on their doorstep,’ said Professor Stephen Caddick, vice-provost for enterprise at UCL and a member of the government’s Tech City advisory group.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...