ICT firms announce expansion plans at london 2012 summit

East London receives a boost today as five ICT firms announce plans to expand their operations in Tech City, Europe’s fastest-growing digital hub.  The new investment will help drive growth by boosting jobs and company start ups in the area, while helping cement the UK’s reputation as a leading player in ICT. 

Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Ulster will also benefit from multi-million pound international business deals announced at the Global Business Summit on ICT, one of 18 summits organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Today’s summit will showcase the best of UK ICT innovation and technology to delegates from around the world, promoting new opportunities for international business. Keynote speakers include Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, BBC Director General Mark Thompson, and BT Chief Executive Ian Livingston.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, said:

“The Government is determined to make Britain the technology centre of Europe, with the London’s Tech City at its heart.

“London 2012 is the perfect stage to show investors and entrepreneurs how much we have already achieved, and the exciting potential of what is to come. We are also proud to demonstrate the world-class innovation of the British tech industry, which is helping to deliver the most digitally-advanced Games in history.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“It’s fantastic that more and more companies are taking advantage of the enormous benefits of doing business in London, and I am delighted to welcome these new additions to Tech City.  London is at the forefront of the high tech revolution, and the 2012 Games have given us a unique opportunity to showcase the unrivalled opportunities for businesses in the capital. 

“The official promotional organisation for London, London & Partners, continue to do a sterling job of promoting the city to our international visitors and I look forward to welcoming many more businesses in the future.” 

Ian Livingston, BT Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted to be participating in the British Business Embassy summits at Lancaster House.  This is a unique opportunity for us to showcase our expertise to international visitors and potential new customers in one place.”

Other speakers will include Derek McManus, the Chief Operating Officer of Telefonica O2 UK; Stephen Leonard, the Chief Executive of IBM UK & Ireland; and Guy Laurence, Chief Executive of Vodafone UK. Seminars will focus on key fields including broadband; digital innovation; multimedia; and next-generation mobility. 


UK-International Business

International business announced today includes:

Morning Boost – Italian Blend Accelerator has announced its first overseas business incubator, located in London’s Tech City. Estimated to create 50 jobs, the office will open in August 2012 and will be a hub for launching start-ups into UK and other markets. Morning Boost identifies innovative ideas from anywhere in the world and supports their growth within European markets through strong networks of industrial, financial and mentoring partners across Europe.  Morning Boost is backed by a £5 million fund raised by a group of Italian entrepreneurs with experience in web, new media and finance. 

Vodafone has committed to opening a new technology lab and incubation centre in Tech City. This will bring the expertise and global market reach of Britain’s biggest ICT company to UK technology start-ups, building on the experience Vodafone has gathered from its xone in Silicon Valley. Encouraged by the early success of the xone, Vodafone will look to replicate the experience in Tech City in East London, where there is a powerful combination of venture capital investment and start-ups focused on the mobile internet and creative media.

Barclays has provided funding and other support to enable Central Working to launch its third club to help the rapid growth of small and medium-sized businesses.  Located in London’s Tech City, this club is expected to help over 22,000 businesses during the next five years, supporting estimated growth of more than £350 million within five years.  Central Working clubs nurture talent within fast growth companies by providing deep support and inspiration, as well as the environment to foster collaboration and peer development.

GREE Inc, a Tokyo-based mobile social gaming company that is one of the fastest-growing companies in Japan, is announcing the opening of a new game development studio in the UK and its planned relocation in September to a new office in Tech City. The London studio will be the latest studio set up to develop for GREE’s mobile social games, and comes as part of an aggressive expansion in Europe. Its opening means that GREE UK now has a full UK operation consisting of development, developer relations, marketing and customer support. The new studio will create employment opportunities in engineering, art, and game production.

USTWO, a Tech City-based digital product and service design studio, has expanded its business to the US market, where its strong growth has in turn driven further expansion in London.  Since opening an office in New York in June 2012, USTWO has generated new business worth over £300,000 with global brands and now has plans to expand to the west coast of the US by 2014 and to recruit a further 20 staff in the UK.

Tribal Group, a provider of technology products and services to the education, training and learning markets, headquartered in Paddington, London, has won significant ICT contracts in Australia and New Zealand. The deals with overall contract values totalling more than £27 million for Australia and more than £5 million in New Zealand, span business systems for universities, further education colleges, schools and government education departments. To support the new projects, software development is taking place primarily in the UK, and this has generated 40 new full-time positions at Tribal’s Sheffield office which is currently undergoing a £300,000 refurbishment programme, as well as a number of additional roles across other locations in the business.

Sophia Search Ltd, a spin-out from the University of Ulster that creates software products that dramatically improve organisational search and content management systems, has received US$3.7 million in Series A funding. The funding will enable the company to grow over the next 18 months, expanding its Belfast headquarters from three to 17 software engineers, and its San Jose sales office in California, from one to 12 staff. Sophia Search won (jointly) the UK leg of Logica's Global Innovation Partner Programme in June 2011 and was invited onto IBM's Global Entrepreneur Directory in July 2011.

MPP Global Solutions, a leading British provider of advanced Payment Services and eCommerce Solutions tailored for the media and entertainment industries, estimates that it will generate up to 50 UK jobs over the next five years, predominantly in IT-related positions, after opening an office in New York City in July.  MPP estimates that the New York office is likely to generate in excess of £1 million in the first year, with ambitious targets of over £10 million in the next five years. 

AirWatch, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia, has just moved into new offices in Milton Keynes to accommodate its expanding business. AirWatch, a mobile device management software company, manages its operations in Europe and Middle East from the UK. The number of employees in the UK has grown from four to 74 in the last year. It expects the numbers to double to 150 within two years.  AirWatch is investing $40 million in its overall business, with the UK office as a primary component of that investment.

Notes to Editors

1. The programme for all British Business Embassy events is at www.ukti.gov.uk Watch all British Business Embassy sessions live http://www.youtube.com/user/UKTIWeb. Follow events live on Twitter @BritBizClub and join the conversation using hashtag #BritBizEmbassy.

2. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit www.ukti.gov.uk or visit the online newsroom at www.ukti.gov.uk/media.

3. Cambridge-based firm ARM, which designs chips that go into 90% of the world’s smartphones, announced last week the creation of an industry forum that will look at the standards required for "the internet of things”.

4. Last week, Facebook announced that it would set up its first engineering unit outside the US in London, with software engineer Philip Su blogging that London was a “perfect fit…with a vibrant, local start-up community with lots of great technical talent”.

5. The Government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.' It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.


Factfile: ICT

  • The total IT & telecoms workforce in the UK now comprises 1.5 million individuals – five per cent of the total current UK workforce. This is made up of 900,000 specialists within the IT & telecoms supply industry and a further 600,000 working as IT or telecoms professionals in other industries.
  • The UK is a strong market for technology, with some of Europe’s most voracious consumers of technology.
  • The UK is Europe’s leading market for software and IT services with a market value of €61 billion in 2011.
  • London’s Tech City has grown dramatically to become the capital’s leading destination for digital, creative and high-technology companies. In just three years, it has expanded naturally from around 15 companies to over 700 – growth that is set to continue, with the UK Government actively supporting the area’s development.
  • UKTI helps around 1,200 ICT companies every year to export.


For further information, contact Toby Hall – 020 7234 5710