back to article Silicon Roundabout worthies in £2m UK.gov cash battle royale

The UK Cabinet Office has handed out two slices of its £10m Social Incubator fund to bankroll more macchiato-sipping big dreamers on East London's Silicon Roundabout. Telefonica's venture capital outfit Wayra will get £1.2m of money from the public purse and, with the help of UnLtd, is expected to dish the cash out to startups …

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Waste

Just another way those in government can use your taxes to help their well heeled mates. When I started my company I didn't have any pals in government to pay me to locate in one of the most expensive parts of the country for office rents.

My concern is surely money to these wannabes is money that can't be handed to their long-suffering banker chums?

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P_0

But not yet: for the moment taxpayers' hard-earned cash is needed to pay for seed funding, coaching, workshops and, most importantly, office space close enough to the Old Street roundabout to be cool. That space is critical, as the arrival of Google et al has driven up rent the area to the point where few startups without government money can afford to hang around.

Why can't they work in an office somewhere cheaper?

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London

If it doesn't exist in London, as far as politicians and mainstream media are concerned, it doesn't exist.

the whole "silicon roundabout" shows just how London-centric these people are. There's a ton of startups in the Reading/Bracknell area but they're completely oblivious to it as it isn't a tube ride away or run by one of their pals.

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Re: London

> Reading/Bracknell

shows just how South-centric some people are ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: London

East London has already had the supposed Olympics boost.. How about something for the North, or Wales for a change?

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Re: London

"How about something for the North, or Wales for a change?"

I think you'll find that Wales does very nicely out of government with an extra £1.5bn a year out of the Barnett formula. If the assembly choose to spend that on speed cameras and eisitedfodds then that's their choice.

The English regions have more of a case for griping, but even then there's a range of boondoggles.

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Because if you were located in leeds or manchester or newcastle you might be forgotten about by your friends in westminster when the next load of cash was being handed out

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Anonymous Coward

Nice work if you can get it...

£1.8m, to fund 20 companies, with £15k per year for 4 years = £1.2m....

So, this start-up (up start?) is being paid £600k to write a few cheques? (and maybe, just maybe, look at a business plan or two - and take a large equity stake?)

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Where are the links eh?

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Anonymous Coward

Silicon Roundabout

Is this where the start-up scene is happening in London?

I'll stay well clear then. I'm sure it's fun making the next web-based fart-sharing network with complementary iPhone and Android apps, but I have yet to see anything resembling actual tech progress come out of this scene. Just a lot of big talk and enough hot air to get VC investment, all with an eye to a 'successful exit' where the founders cash out at the peak of popularity.

Call me cynical, but that doesn't sound much like a sustainable sector for the government to be investing in, even though I suppose a couple of mil here and there is peanuts in the grand scheme of things...

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Unhappy

Re: Silicon Roundabout

Is this where the start-up scene is happening in London?

It used to be where all the interesting new tech startups were. It is now where all the post-profit nontrepreneurs set up shop, as you observed.

It was only ever interesting because it was an area full of cheap office space with decent transport links, and now it is all fashionable and expensive and increasingly gentrified only the likes of Google and Amazon can afford it. People are already moving out as the rate of rent increase is punishing... some folk I contracted for last year have had their rent triple in two years. Government handouts won't fix the problem; this particular golden goose was shot some time ago.

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FAIL

We have a lack of affordable housing in London and commuter areas, plenty of affordable housing elsewhere in the country.

Old Street station is already congested and a but of a hole.

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£15k a year

That's not even enough to afford a Barrista!!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Why is the government giving taxpayers' hard-earned cash to Wayra, a VC company owned by a vast telco? Isn't that what VCs are for?

Last I saw, Wayra take a stake in the businesses they incubate, so it sounds like they're providing a few desks, maybe taking a stake and maybe letting the UK taxpayer take on the risk? They probably thought 'big society' sounds too much like 'no profit for us'.

And why do Boris and Cameron think that you have to be in Shoreditch to start a business that involves a website? They need to get out more and stop trying to seem in with the hipsters.

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Anonymous Coward

What do any of these companies actually do?

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@What do any of these companies actually do?

Undertakings of great advantage, but no-one to know what they are...

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Anonymous Coward

Well, by the job boards they always seem to be hiring ninja developers, so I've always assumed they're training ninjas.

That actually sounds quite useful.

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Re: @What do any of these companies actually do?

"Undertakings of great advantage, but no-one to know what they are..."

This isn't 1720, you know, but have an upvote.

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Re: @What do any of these companies actually do?

And an app to vote on which end of your egg to open

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Thumb Down

Wouldn't it be more social (by the government's definition) to invest this money on startup in areas that desparately need jobs? Places like Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, etc where the rents and the staff would be cheaper.

Oh silly me, I forgot there's nothing north of the Watford Gap.

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Boffin

"That space is critical, as the arrival of Google et al has driven up rent the area to the point where few startups without government money can afford to hang around. "

This is a general problem everywhere in the UK. We need cheap places to live and run businesses from which are close to customers. Land values and property speculation make that difficult in many areas.

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re: close to customers

That was my problem with a web based startup

establishing an office in everyone's living room

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Anonymous Coward

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhAr_UeroCk

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Unhappy

So now we (the taxpayers)...

...are giving money to Telefonica, and we all know how hard up they are for a bob or two. And I guess they will hand out (a proportion of) the money to a crowd of get-rich-quick-jack-the-lads who will (maybe) produce some worthless smoke-and-mirrors "app" or whatever, and have a good old laugh at our expense.

Fscking insane.

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Re: So now we (the taxpayers)...

I don't think the money will get as far as the people making the fart app.

There are a lot of creative consultants and PR people to pay first

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