East London Tech City (also known as Tech City or Silicon Roundabout) is a technology cluster located in Central and EastLondon. It broadly occupies the part of London's East End between Old Street (the boundary of Central and East London) and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, with its locus in the Shoreditch area. It is the third-largest technology startup cluster in the world after San Francisco and New York City.
The cluster initially developed without any government backing in and around the Old Street Roundabout. This had been a relatively run down area, north of the City of London, and has historically had much lower rents. Companies were encouraged into the area by the low rents after the 2008-2009 recession. There had been many architectural firms in the area that closed around 2009, further suppressing rents. Ironically the area around Old Street was not served back in 2008-2009 by fibre optic cable, but only a few hundred metres away, where rents were much higher in the City of London, an extensive fibre optic cable infrastructure was already in place. As has been claimed by many later articles, the development of the cluster was not influenced by the government investment at the Olympic Park, but by the location and initial low rents. This reflects the fact that successful technology clusters are usually market rather than government driven and are consequently cost-conscious.
Later, as the cluster developed, there was more support and encouragment by both local and national government, with the goal of creating a cluster comparable to Silicon Valley in the United States. Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel and McKinsey & Company are among the companies that have invested in the area. City University London, London Metropolitan University, Imperial College London, Loughborough University and University College London are academic partners in projects based in the cluster.