Since 2013 Croydon Tech City has been assisting entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and software developers to successfully reshape the image of the Borough of Croydon. Croydon Tech City has promoted a number of events and meetings in order to attract and to support business startups.
The cluster promotes events to help digital, technology and creative-related business and has already 1,000 members. According to ONS Business Register, the number of startups in Croydon has shown a growth of 38 per cent between 2011 and 2013.
According to Croydon Tech City founder Jonny Rose, as well as attracting startups from other regions and cities to set up in the area, the challenge is to engage the community in coding and in entrepreneurship to improve skills and employability. GO ON, one of the active education schemes in the area, has identified at least 85,000 people in Croydon who lack basic online skills, such as searching for information and making transactions using the internet.
“Each of these people have major potential to further grow the borough’s tech scene in time,” Rose wrote on his opinion page published on the business website City.Am on Friday, January 8. He declared: “This sits alongside the efforts of our own ‘Future Tech City’ initiative which is creating a talent pipeline of entrepreneurial and tech-savvy school leavers each year.” Last June, the Council announced the launch of a new tech business incubator and startup space by early 2016.
Here is an inspiring list of 10 of the most inventive and creative start-ups and tech companies based in Croydon:
- Famberry — the social media network for families.
Every family has a story. This app helps families store their documents, letters and pictures and share them with people around the world. This special tool allows you to build genealogic trees. The idea behind Famberry is to allow people to connect to other families around the world in search of their ancestors and relatives.
- Meanderlings – Share your location with the ones you care for/for people to look after you.
Cities are made to be explored but they can also be scary when on our own. That’s why we can rely on Meanderlings. The app summarises geolocation details captured from different apps pre-running in your mobile, which allows your friends and family to know your location and itinerary. The app can also be of good help for elderly people and children on the way to and from school.
- Karisma Kidz – Helping children’s social and emotional development.
Founded by Erika Brodneck, a former Croydon Council employee, Karisma Kidz uses the appeal of video games and cartoons to help boys and girls aged three to eight to develop social and emotional skills and live happier. When challenged by all sorts of situations, kids are expected to act like superheroes.
- Teen Poke – A social network exclusively for teenagers.
While Facebook age restriction is currently set at 16, Teen Poke, is made exclusively for teenagers 13 – 19. This safe network allows them to connect without their parents worrying and summoning them – which can be a real embarrassment for some teenagers.
- Case Study Ninja — A B2B platform that helps creative people organise case studies portfolios.
Case studies can be powerful marketing tools companies use to give examples of their work in order to attract new clients and partners as well as to inspire employees. Case Study Ninja is expected to help companies and freelancers to share their successful case studies and build an online reputation. The platform will be compatible with software such as PowerPoint and editing text programmes like Microsoft Word.
- Croyative — An online creative marketplace for charities.
This website presents itself as the “UK’s most affordable freelance platform” and helps to connect charities and creative professionals from five main areas: graphic design, photography, content writing, social media and branding. The social platform also guarantees an extra consulting time with professionals hired for a fair price.
- Here & Now — A geo-based entertainment app for kids.
Run out of fun ideas to do with your children? Here & Now is a mobile app and website which uses geolocation in order to tell you about the closest locations. The tool also allows users to book entrances in advance for a range of museums, parks, events and workshops nearby.
- Loaf — An interactive recipe app that can transform any amateur into a chef.
From TV shows to fancy restaurants, the food industry is one of the most promising in the UK. This user-friendly app promises to transform any amateur cook into a professional. Recipes are suggested based on taste and are explained with interactive step-by-step animations. Once the dish is ready, the app allows you to share the results with your friends.
- Dotmailer — A South London based international e-mail provider.
Launched in 1999, this successful B2B e-mail provider is no longer a startup but was one of the first digital businesses to have been established in Croydon Tech City, in 2011, attracting new business to the neighbourhood. The company has clients such as Thortons, BBC, FujiFilm, The New York Times and Santander. The app is valued at over one thousand million pounds.
- Cyman System — Smart voice activated butler.
It feels like carrying the butler from Downton Abbey Carson around but this artificial intelligence assistant helps users to manage a variety of business and domestic tasks. The interface is voice activated and can tell you about the weather, bookings, and reminding you of appointments, browsing the web and even helping you with shopping lists.
Follow Márcio Cruz on Twitter: @marciocruz