Starting a Business in Tech City: Huckletree

The new community hub tells us why Tech City's constant innovation and connected location is ideal for the company and its start-up members...

Company name: Huckletree
Founders: Gabriela Hersham
Description: Huckletree is a community of high-growth, VC backed start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers
Website: www.huckletree.com

What’s great about starting a business in  Tech City?

Knowing that our members need to be in the heart of the action we didn’t want to be anywhere other than in (or on the fringe of, as the case may be!) Tech City and the centre of London’s start-up ecosystem.

Our members are constantly travelling around town to events, demo days, pitches, meetings and workshops and as we’re supposed to be simplifying their work alike we needed to make this easy for them. Huckletree could never have been anything other than in the midst of all the innovation that’s happening in Tech City.

What business support in the area have you used? How was it?

We act as a support centre but as I said before the networking events, workshops etc are great for start-ups in the community.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business in Tech City:

  1. It’s constantly evolving. What’s really fascinating about the area is it’s constantly changing. A few years back, Clerkenwell was mainly known for design and architecture and Farringdon for the meat market and surrounding corporate office buildings but now there is a predominance of young tech businesses.
  2. Innovative. It’s surrounded by innovative companies; we’ve got the likes of YPlan, DueDil, onefinestay, and even Amazon on our doorstep.
  3. It’s a great location. It’s the central point between East and West London, making it relatively easy to travel around the city for daily meetings. We also have a lot of members who come in daily from outside London so the transport links around us are invaluable and once the Cross Rail is up and running this will only help advance the area further.

Where could Tech City be better / what does it need?

Firstly, and perhaps it particularly affects us because it is related directly to our line of business, we really believe that the business rates system is outdated and is in need of rethinking. The rates assessment system seems disproportionately high and can cripple new businesses in the area (in particular retailers and start-ups looking to take their own office space).

Then London can and should take New York’s lead in rethinking the infrastructure for cyclists. If every street in London had bike lanes, it would be much easier to get around safely and economically.

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

For our seed round we raised £250,000 from private investors. We found this process relatively easy; but we’re lucky in that investors like the idea of being in the middle of innovation and in that sense Huckletree in a no-brainer. We haven’t looked for debt yet but it’s something we’re considering for our next round.

Where do you go to network in your area?

We’re so spoiled for choice in terms of networking events in Tech City and above that we also have our own schedule of events; both internally between members and also bringing external innovators and inspiring people in to talk about what they’re doing.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch?

Sadly that rarely happens as all talks seem to happen over here at Huckletree HQ, on the kitchen table over a cup of fresh roasted Honest Coffee or in the meeting room!

When we do get out for team lunches we go the Gate in Islington for delicious veggie meals.

Where’s great for a company night out?

Well we’re right next door to a great bar called Fabric so…

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