King's Cross has become London's biggest, buzziest tech hub
Move over Silicon Roundabout; London’s new tech destination is King’s Cross. The area directly around King’s Cross and St Pancras stations has become a hub for tech giants and startups alike – as well as notable academic and cultural institutions.
Last year, Google started building its new “landscraper” London headquarters in King’s Cross. The structure, designed by Bjarke Ingel Group and Heatherwick Studio, will be longer than The Shard is tall at 312 metres, and will be equipped with a wellness centre, plenty of bike parking, and a roof garden planted with gooseberry and sage. Once completed, it will bring Google’s total number of offices in the area to three. Not to be outdone, Facebook signed a deal in 2018 for 57,000 square metres of office space across three buildings also around King’s Cross.
Photo Credit: Wired.com
The past few years have seen the opening of several national tech and science organisations in the area, including the Francis Crick Institute and the Alan Turing Institute, with plenty of startups also choosing King’s Cross as their base. Here, we map some of the companies and organisations taking over the area.
1. Pavegen: Founded in 2009, Pavegen converts footsteps into energy. A person who treads on Pavegen’s specially designed paving slabs creates small amounts of electrical power. The hope is that the company’s smart flooring will power street lighting in the future.
2. Automata: Makes robotic arms for production line automation. The company aims to democratise and accelerate automation by making robots more affordable.
3. UCL Base KX Hub: UCL’s startup hub for entrepreneurs and former students. Hosts regular programme of events to encourage entrepreneurial meetups. Also home to the Hatchery, UCL’s incubation programme for promising entrepreneurs.
4. Expedia Group: London office of the global online travel platform. Brands include Trivago, hotels.com and CheapTickets.
5. MUSO: An anti-piracy company. Muso collects data from over 196 countries, monitoring billions of piracy pages for downloads of music, film, TV and software, then works with entertainment companies to catch pirates.
6. ARK coworking: Coworking space for freelancers, startups and social entrepreneurs.
7. Balderton Capital: Venture capital firm that invests in technology and internet startups. Notable successes include LoveFilm, Wonga.com and Kobalt Music Group.
8. Weengs: A shipping service for small retailers and online sellers. Weengs handles the collection, packing and delivery for stores that have an e-commerce component, allowing retailers to focus on other aspects of their business.
9. InMotion Ventures: Venture capital firm that invests in the transportation, mobility and travel sectors. Supported by Jaguar Land Rover, InMotion’s investments include car and ride sharing service services and autonomous vehicles.
10. The British Library: Our national library, created in 1973.
11. Brainpool: Connects industry with AI researchers to apply machine learning solutions in business.
12. Google UK: The original UK office of the technology giant.
13. Previse: Analyses invoices to find the ones that are unlikely to get paid to eliminate late payments. It's AI analyses a company’s invoices, predicts which invoices will not likely be paid, then pays the rest instantly.
14. Dazzle: This travel tech start up has developed a social messaging platform for rail, bus, metro and airlines. It enables passengers to plan, book and manage digital tickets via voice and text channels while adding on additions like parking, coffees, hotels and entertainment.
15. CogX conference: Massive emerging tech and AI festival held in June. CogX 2018 brought together over 4,000 attendees and 300 speakers. Topics included assessments of AI’s impact on industry, government, society, transportation, health and education, and discussions of how to deploy AI ethically in these fields.
16. Francis Crick Institute: The largest biomedical research institute in Europe with a focus on the biology underlying health and disease. Formed in 2015, with founding partners including Wellcome, UCL, Imperial College London and King's College London, the Crick moved into the state of the art King's Cross location the in 2016. It now houses over 1,500 scientists and staff.
17. Alan Turing Institute: National institute for data science and AI founded in 2015, named after the pioneering mathematician whose work laid the foundations of modern AI and data science. The institute collaborates with universities and businesses to examine how data science and AI impact society.
18. BenevolentAI: Applies AI to medical research, such as drug discovery. The Company has developed the Benevolent Platform, where scientists can access medical data and research in order to develop new ways to personalise medicine for patients. BenevolentAI’s aims include lowering drug development costs and increasing the speed at which medicines are generated.
19. Facebook: This is a second office, projected to open in 2021. Though details of how many jobs this opening will create remain scarce, the building is projected to cover around 600,000 square feet.
20. StateZero Labs: Startup incubator specifically for blockchain startups.
21. Universal Music: The record label, one of the big three along with Sony and Warner Group, moved here from Kensington in 2018.
22. Tom Dixon: Studio, workshop and shop for the design brand.
23. Google: Site of Google's new landscraper building, a £1 billion facility that will house 7,000 staff. Announced in 2013, the project doesn’t have a projected completion date, but building commenced in 2018.
24. DeepMind: Alphabet-owned AI company. It plans to move into its new 11-storey headquarters in 2020. In the words of, Demis Hassabis, CEO and co-founder, the building is designed “to help foster energy, contemplation and collaboration – ingredients required for pioneering scientific research.”
25. Samsung KX LDN: Samsung announced its 1,900-square-metre showcase space last year. Situated in Coal Drops Yard, Samsung will host large events and consumer care services in the space.
26. Toyota Connected: the European startup office for connected mobility services. Toyota Connected uses data science and predictive intelligence to improve mobility around Europe.
27. Local Globe: Father-and-son team Robin and Saul Klein started investing together for more than 15 years and expanded their work to create Local Globe. In recent years the early-stage investment firm has backed TweetDeck, Songkick and TransferWise.