Today in Tech: Startup perks!

Original post by   via CNN Money

From left: Skype CEO Tony Bates, Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Mason Cohn

* During Facebook’s big product launch event yesterday at its Palo Alto headquarters, Mark Zuckerberg announced some interesting new stats: users are sharing twice as much content now as they did the same time last year, with its 750 million users — yes, 750 million — sharing 4 billion items a day. Zuck and crew also unveiled three products: group messaging, a new full-sized buddy list design and Skype-powered video chat. While all are welcome additions, it was the last feature which made the biggest splash. So far, it’s almost everything it ought to be: easy-to-download and easy-to-use, with some pretty stellar video quality. No group video chat a la Google + “Hangout,” though. (Fortune)

* It’s just over a week old, but according to Search Engine Land, Google + appears to be off to a good start, at least if anecdotal evidence is anything to go by. The Web site already has 1,000 followers. (In comparison, it took the site 17 months to achieve that via Google Buzz.) Meanwhile, tech blog Mashable has 9,000 followers to its name. (Search Engine Land)

* According to The Wall Street JournalApple ordered components for a new iPhone it’s planning to launch by the end of September. If sources are to be believed, the newest model will closely resemble the iPhone 4, but offer a thinner and lighter design along with an 8-megapixel camera. (Wall Street Journal)

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LSR member SocialGo to be introduced by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge at the VC & New Media Summit in San Francisco

Showcase panel to feature Founder-President Dominic Wheatley, of “Tech City,” London-based company SocialGO, the first “Social Website” maker.

Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare for their trip to Canada and California (Pic: PA)

LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Variety’s Venture Capital & New Media Summit, taking place at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Friday, July 8th, will explore how UK innovation is now on course to rival that of Silicon Valley and how the British investment community is driving technology innovation – so critical for the growth of the evolving technology and entertainment industries in the UK.

The summit will showcase London’s “Tech City” initiative, which was launched by the U.K. government to build on the existing cluster of technology companies in Shoreditch, East London. Dominic Wheatley, Founder and President of SocialGO, which creates next generation “socially-enabled” websites, has been invited to participate in a panel discussion beginning at 4:00pm. Along with Variety, the media summit is being presented in conjunction with the UK Trade & Investment Group, who are pulling out all the stops for this panel in particular; it will feature HRH Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duke and Duchess ofCambridge, in the very first appearance of their California visit.

SocialGO, a leader in private, or “niche” social networks, is launching the first website creation platform made for the social web. The company is one of many based in “Tech City”, an area that is home to one of the largest concentrations of small, fast-growing digital technology companies in Europe and intends to give California’s Silicon Valley a run for its money as a global hub of technology. Variety’s Venture Capital and New Media Summit will showcase some of its emerging technology stars, including SocialGO.

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How Cisco plans to spend $500m in East London

Original post by Pete Swabey via Information Age

The network equipment vendor hopes to fund entrepreneurs whose ideas can make the captial smarter and more connected. But on what condition?

In January 2011, networking equipment maker Cisco announced a goal to invest a staggering $500 million in East London’s technology sector over the next five years.

The investment project, dubbed the British Innovation Gateway (BIG), was welcomed by prime minister David Cameron. Cisco’s investment will “help create many new jobs and opportunities, and support our drive to diversify our economy and generate sustainable economic growth”, he said at the time.

So what is Cisco going to spend the money on?

Broadly speaking, its intention is to invest in and support London-based start-ups, especially those that are focused on “smart and connected communities”, Cisco’s jargon for technologies that integrate business, government and civil networks.

For Cisco, the “enlightened self-interest” comes from the fact that if successful, these technologies will drive demand for network equipment and services.

The BIG programme is designed to do this in a number of ways. The most conspicuous components of the programme will be two ‘innovation centres’ – one located in Shoreditch, the other somewhere in the vicinity of the Olympic park.

What exactly is an innovation centre? “That’s a very good question, actually,” says Russell Craig, public sector manager for Cisco’s Internet business solutions group. “It’s a very broad concept, and we’ve deliberately refrained from being too precise about what it is.”

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Facebook snubs Silicon Roundabout for Covent Garden UK HQ

Original post by  via TechEYE

Facebook is snubbing the so-called sillicon roundabout – home of start-ups around the Shoreditch area – to move into Covent Garden instead.

It will put Facebook in tube-taking distance to the East London Tech City, proposed by the government to be a bustling hub of start-ups and established tech powerhouses. Facebook has committed to a developer garage for the project.

Meanwhile, Google is interested, and so is Intel – along with Barclaycard and plenty of others.

But anyone who has taken the tube from the crowded Covent Garden in the evening would probably know it’s worth giving a miss.

Covent Garden’s 42 Earlham Street  office building was packed full of 600 Expedia employees who will now set up shop in Angel, Islington. It’s a fair bit closer to Old Street.

READ MORE TO FIND OUT FACEBOOK’S U.K. HEADQUARTERS

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MP Ed Vaizey mentions Tech City in his speech ‘The future of Digital entertainment’

Ed Vaizey (Intellect Conference, London) – July 5, 2011

Thank you to Intellect for inviting me back to speak.

I came to this conference last year, as a fresh faced Minister with an ambition for digital radio.   That ambition remains, but today I want to share with you the Government’s ambition across the wider digital space as well.

The UK has one of the most dynamic and successful media and communications sectors in the world.   According to a report from the Boston Consulting Group, the UK is now the world leader in e-commerce, with an internet economy worth £100 billion a year.  The availability of enhanced 3G for mobile data transfer is at almost 90 per cent of the total population.  Our content sectors continue to thrive with international sales of TV content exports growing to over £1.3billion in 2009.  Indeed the broadcast content sector invested around £250m on UK commissions in 2009.

We have built on this success with initiatives such as East London Tech City that is helping to support the creation of a world leading technology centre in East London. Hailed as the “Digital Capital of Europe” Tech City has become a tremendous attraction to ambitious young technology entrepreneurs making it increasingly the place to be for the world’s next generation of digital entrepreneurs. The success here has attracted other like-minded high-tech entrepreneurs and the area is booming.

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Greenpeace stormtroopers in Old Street Volkswagen protest

Here's the flyer the Greenpeace stormtroopers were handing out at Old Street this morning.

Stormtroopers converged on Old Street in London as part of a Greenpeace protest against Volkswagen’s apparent opposition of European environmental laws.

At 7am this morning, commuters were greeted by an army of Stormtroopers at the exits of Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout as the Imperial March sounded. Protesting stormtroopers climbed the billboard above the roundabout to unfurl banners.

The Stromtroopers’ message was this: “All of us in the Rebellion are calling on Volkswagen to turn away from the Dark Side and give our planet a chance.”

This, the Greenpeace stormtroopers suggest, can be done by supporting strong CO2 emissions cuts and fuel efficiency standards.

Greenpeace is also calling on Volkswagen to harness its technology for greener use.

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Stormtroopers take over Old Street

Here’ the Greenpeace message

And here’s the highly-popular Volkswaagen Starwars commercial

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Government in £100k Tech City PR agency spend

The government is paying a marketing agency close to £100,000 per year to promote David Cameron’s Tech City overseas, a Whitehall department has confirmed.

In the same week that saw ministers applaud major reductions in government advertising and the axing of around a quarter of in-house government communications jobs, business minister Mark Prisk told MPs that PR firm Hill and Knowlton would be paid £99,945 to promote Tech City overseas for 12 months.

Speaking to Publicservice.co.uk, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said no concerns had been raised in government about spending the sum on the marketing campaign, which they believed to represent “excellent value for money”.

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Hermann Hauser awarded top Silicon Valley honour

Hermann Hauser has followed Bill Gates’ footsteps and has entered the pantheon of technology “gods”.

Hermann Hauser was recognised this week in Silicon Valley’s “Visionary Awards”, joining the ranks of Bill Gates, Vint Cerf, Vinod Khosla and others.

Silicon Valley’s elite gathered this week to honour Hermann Hauser at the SDForum annual “Visionary Awards”.

Every year, the SDForum hosts an a-list ceremony for 250 CEOs in Silicon Valley to honour four industry leaders who have pioneered innovation and fostered the entrepreneurial spirit. It is widely recognised as the “pantheon of technology gods”.

Hermann Hauser was one of the entrepreneurs to be recognised this year, chosen for his “exceptional contributions in the field of emerging technologies and in the community”.

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Silicon Junction: a new collaborative space for creative industries

Creative industries in south west London are pulling together and using their proximity to a total benefit that is greater than the sum of their parts

Robe Dale – I had a really interesting meeting last week with people from the creative industries around the Clapham Junction and Battersea area.

The focus was on an idea framed around the website siliconjunction.co.uk (so called in reference to tech hubs Silicon Valley in California and Silicon Roundabout in Old Street, East London). At its core, the webspace is intended to become a network where local creative businesses can join forces in order to pitch for high-end contracts usually too large to approach individually.

Here’s a short video from some of the guys – with a longer version here. (If you can’t see the video then here’s the link to Youtube)

In a recent piece in the FT, Tim Bradshaw wrote of how tech companies around Silicon Roundabout are pulling together and using their proximity to a total benefit that is greater than the sum of their parts – clustering alone, he said, without collaboration, seems a wasted opportunity (you can watch a video from the FT on this here).

The same principal applies around the Junction. For example, a small company with specific web-based skills can collaborate with another which specialises in video production to meet the requirements demanded by clients.

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Sex, Coffee And Rock n Roll At Shoreditch Grind

 Original post by Cherie City

To get a great coffee in Shoreditch, the usual haunts are in and around Redchurch Street.  You can always rely on Leila’s Shop, Allpress and Present for a proper coffee, but venture past Hoxton Square towards Old Street and the options dwindle down to Starbucks.

Now, the big roundabout at Old Street just got a bit more interesting with the arrival of Shoreditch Grind, bringing sex, coffee and rock n roll to an otherwise drab part of the East.

I first spotted Shoreditch Grind on the bus back from Beirut and pretty much waited all week to get a nose in.  Today, Steven and I popped down for coffee and cake.

The cafe is small yet airy and bright and can fit a decent amount of customers.  I loved the exposed brick design, the communal table with old wooden school chairs and the bar seating overlooking the street – very east London!

London is in the middle of an Antipodean coffee renaissance and as you might have guessed, Shoreditch Grind continues the trends, with its roots in Melbourne coffee culture.  They even roast their own Shoreditch Grind house blend – now that’s dedication to the bean!

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