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Summary:

Some folk used to say the great thing about Europe’s digital startup scene was, unlike Silicon Valley, it’s distributed. So the growing conc…

Silicon Roundabout hoodie
photo: Tom T

Some folk used to say the great thing about Europe’s digital startup scene was, unlike Silicon Valley, it’s distributed. So the growing concentration around the Shoreditch, London, area they’re calling Silicon Roundabout may seem a little at odds with that.

Now Pearson (NYSE: PSO) has announced itself as the first founder sponsor of TechHub, a project to sit 500 dot.commers around desks in a building near the roundabout.

Tellingly about its strategy, Pearson is press releasing its sponsorship by email, professing to be “exploring the digital frontiers” with projects like its own innovation fund and using the opportunity to say a third of its revenue is now from digital. It’s unclear exactly how much Pearson is putting up, or what it’s getting out of it.

Clustering is nothing new, though is usually accomplished by the likes of development agencies – see Wales’ sector-specific Technium network, which has been operating for nine years.

TechHub is a sector-specific co-working facility. Many are beginning to sprout up around the UK.

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  1. Robert,

    Thanks for the coverage. As the Pearson executive behind this sponsorship I would be happy to provide any additional information you might need, and thought I would reply to some of the questions you have.

    With regards to TechHub, I proactively reached out to Elizabeth as I had seen first hand the success of coworking in the US, where I was a member of New Work City in New York. Coworking is based on a community spirit that does not necessarily happen in shared office spaces and that is usually stronger than a typical incubator. It is not necessarily a new idea or a sophisticated idea, but for many people it is becoming their preferred environment for creative work.

    For us, it is one more way of reaching out to interesting talent and tech entrepreneurs. We believe in the vision of creating a community and will not only be just sponsors of TechHub but also active participants. In addition to hosting events, we will have product and developer teams working from that space, interacting with other members. We also plan to use the 500+ entrepreneurs network to brainstorm new ideas and explore opportunities around new devices.

    Pearson has multiple digital product and tech teams around the world. As a group we generate £1.7bn of our income from digital products (1/3 of total revenues). We are a large global company.. sometimes too large you might say… and with initiatives like this, we try to be more nimble and bring down the cultural and physical walls that sometimes exist between large product/development teams and small startups.

    We are trying to help the digital community. There are many other innovation spaces in the London area and in the UK and we hope there will be more everywhere. We have multiple initiatives underway and are always open to consider and explore other partnerships and ideas. If you think there is something else we should consider supporting, let us know.

    Hope this helps give some context to the initiative. For more info I can be reached at: twitter @jlopezvalcarcel or email juan.lopezvalcarcel@pearson.com.

    Regards,
    Juan

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