Tech City: San Fran firm plots Angel hub to rival Roundabout

Rocketspace's San Francisco offices

Rocketspace's San Francisco offices - Credit: Archant

With more and more tech start-ups emerging from Old Street every day, the market for an all-in-one hub has never been more evident.

Duncan Logan, founder and CEO of Rocketspace

Duncan Logan, founder and CEO of Rocketspace - Credit: Archant

And while the technology scene is certainly thriving in the UK, collaboration between start-ups could open up a whole new frontier for companies.

Enter Rocketspace, the San Francisco based technology campus that’s setting its sights on Tech City – not Silicon Roundabout, which has been perhaps the greatest single locus for London’s tech industry, but up the road near Angel station.

Founded in 2011 by Scot Duncan Logan, Rocketspace says it provides all the tools necessary to “bring the future to market”. From programming to consulting, events to office space, Duncan feels Rocketspace is the perfect companion for anyone looking to get their tech start-up off the ground.

“By focusing on funded tech start-ups, RocketSpace offers tech entrepreneurs a unique community of like-minded colleagues, along with tech and start-up specific services, workshops and events,” Duncan told Tech City.

Rocketspace's San Francisco offices

Rocketspace's San Francisco offices - Credit: Archant

“We are very excited about working with Tech City’s entrepreneurs, who are creating some of the most ‘disruptive’ technologies of the future.”

Duncan’s career has taken him all over the world, including spending 12 years living in the capital.

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“When I left London, Tech City didn’t exist,” he said.

“It is incredible what has been achieved from both government down and the grassroots ecosystem up. It is now regarded as one of the best tech ecosystems in the world and it really makes me proud to be British and excited to come back to it.”

The Rocketspace campus, which will open its doors in 2017, will be located just yards from the Tube, an area the company feels will help its current growth.

It will house workplaces for teams ranging from 1 to 100 people, with an outdoor space and a café designed specifically to help foster collaboration between the companies operating there.

With alumni of Rocketspace including Uber, Spotify and British Airways, Duncan can’t wait to work with some of the most exciting start-ups operating out of Tech City. “The UK has produced many great tech companies and each generation of successful companies has helped build the next generation,” he explained.

“A city the size of London with a nimble government promoting tech and entrepreneurship is going to be a formidable force in years to come.”

But how did a Scotsman who lived in London for 12 years end up starting one of the biggest technology hubs in San Francisco?

“The Valley had a calling for me,” joked Duncan.

“I was fortunate to be a part of MessageLabs, a UK tech success, and during that time I spent a great deal of time in the US. I wanted to learn how they repeatedly built billion-dollar tech companies, but I always had the dream to do something in London again.”

One aspect of the launch that Duncan is particularly excited about is the prospect of forming a transatlantic partnership with his Rocketspace offices in San Francisco, something he feels would really benefit any start-ups operating out of Tech City.

“Silicon Valley used to dominate the tech scene, but this is no longer the case,” he said.

“With the connections that RocketSpace has in the US and UK, I feel we can help create a bridge for successful start-ups in the UK to tap into the resources of the Valley.”

But while he is optimistic about the UK launch of his technology campus, Duncan realises there are challenges ahead for him and his company.

“It will be a proud moment to open at Angel,” he said, “but that is really when the work begins.”