Google Campus London shuts down startups after Covid

The resident works with desktops and laptops at Google Inc.’s technology campus in East London’s Tech City.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | fake images

LONDON – Google is closing its dedicated startup space in London known as Campus.

The Silicon Valley tech giant announced on Monday that it decided to “not reopen” the campus in east London after it was forced to close by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are closing Campus to support startups across the UK,” the company said, stating that it can support startups across the country without a physical space.

Campus London was launched in 2012 by Israeli tech veteran and Google employee Eze Vidra when the London startup scene started to take off.

Located in the gentrified neighborhood of Shoreditch, a few hundred yards from the Old Street revolving system that became known as the ‘Silicon Roundabout’, the campus was often thought to be at the epicenter of London’s Tech City, that some tech workers They say it will never be the same again

The campus contained a co-working space, a cafeteria, and an event space. It was used by a variety of startup accelerators and programs, including Seedcamp, Entrepreneur First, Code First, and Silicon Drinkabout. Thousands of events were held there over the years and Google employees used to come and offer free tutoring to startups.

Google said the UK startup community “doesn’t need access to a single shared physical space as much as it needs access to resources, mentors and programs available on a large scale, anywhere.”

“The first time I set foot on Campus London in 2012, it felt like something magical,” Marta Krupinska, Google Director for Start-ups UK, said on Twitter. “He has played a pivotal role in making London such a successful start-up ecosystem and after almost 10 years a new chapter opens. There is a lot to celebrate and there is still a lot of work to do ”.

Traffic passes around the Old Street roundabout, also known as the “Silicon Roundabout”, in the area known as “Tech City” in London, UK.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | fake images

Sarah Drinkwater, who led Campus from 2014 to 2018, said in a blog on Monday: “It’s okay Campus doesn’t reopen after Covid closes. The scenes change and you have to play as is ”.

Drinkwater, who worked on Google Maps before joining Campus, said there are hundreds of coworking spaces in London and dozens and dozens of accelerators across the UK today.

Tech entrepreneurs, developers and investors recalled their times on Campus on social media and in blog posts.

“So many good memories and good friends gathered there,” wrote Amandine Flachs, CEO and co-founder of Wild Meta AI, which aims to help game developers create smarter, more human-like AI with machine learning.

“This scarce space on Bonhill Street provided the container for many different sub-communities to start or join, and a gateway for incredibly different profiles who wanted to find out what this ‘tech’ thing was,” Drinkwater wrote.

“Repeatedly, I would come across an uncertain founder in the cafe trying to figure it out and then I would come across him, a year later, with a team and funding and a clear path forward,” Drinkwater said. “Sometimes those companies blew up; sometimes they did not and a great deal returned to the market ”.

Google operates other campuses in Madrid, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Warsaw. Google did not immediately respond when asked by CNBC if it plans to close any of the other campuses.

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