Starting a Business in West London: Unii
The social network's founder discusses why the lifestyle, scenery and local amenities made them pick West London over the city centre
Company name: Unii
Founder: Marco Nardone
Description: Unii is a private student social platform
What’s great about starting a business in West London?
We prefer Hammersmith over a more central location as it’s less crowded and is a more pleasant environment for our team. Hammersmith has a great vibe, resulting from things like the local high street, a fantastic food market and gyms that all help our team to play hard as well as work hard.
My team regularly travel the country and world so being near a decent transport infrastructure, and having Heathrow airport only 20 minutes away, means we can easily stay connected.
London city centre is not far so it offers a wide range of tech events for example, Apps World, and contacts but leaving a bit outside of it means we have a more relaxed lifestyle.
What business support in the area have you used? How was it?
Finding the correct premises is always something of a struggle, but generally we overcame many of those challenges by doing the research ourselves. We think it’s important not to rely on other businesses for advice too much, it is always best to do your own thing, trust your judgement and create the business with a bit of your personality stamped on it rather than that of others. That said we have attended networking events in our office building since joining as it does help morale to hear other stories.
Truthfully, however, the views over London are what sold us with the office. We have a great corner office on the top floor, which boasts loads of daylight and amazing views of the River Thames and even as far as Wembley Stadium. Working that little bit later is no big deal when you get to glimpse the beautiful sunsets in the way that we do.
Name the top three reasons to set up a business in West London:
- Talent. Access to great, fresh talent
- Transport. Transport links are really good
- Great company. Great up-and-coming area to grow and develop; we have some great start-ups and big names as neighbours, including Coca-Cola, Disney, L’Oreal and Innocent Smoothies!
Where could West London be better / what does it need?
Other well known ‘tech cities’ such as San Francisco have global appeal as the heart of the emerging technology boom. I think London is beginning to catch up, but still has a way to go to become level players. Many of the big conferences are now coming to London too, such as Social Media Week, but I’d like to see more events like SXSW starting to emerge here.
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How easy has it been to access finance to grow?
Our personal journey in relation to access to finance has been rewarding as Unii was backed by private investors. Central London is where most of the investment seems to be but it’s out here where you can keep your costs down too.
Where do you go to network in your area?
Our building is full of small and mid-sized businesses so networking is always easy; plus there are monthly drinks etc. for people to mingle. In fact, there is a company called Mingle in our building that specialises in business networking.
Where do you take a client for a business lunch?
If you’re looking for somewhere that will impress, there is La Trompette just down the road in Chiswick. Alternatively, we have also been known to frequent High Road House, which is a beautiful hotel, members club and brassiere also located in Chiswick.
Where’s great for a company night out?
Different occasions call for different locations! We often go as a team to Ping to just chill out and have fun after work, but for the more special celebrations we have gone centrally to Aqua at the Shard.