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get people to say "hang on, have you thought about this?". Quite often people in the audience find they can help with bits, or put them in touch and it’s a really cool, vibrant environment.’ The events are exciting and you can feel the anticipation in the room before the speaker starts. It’s like a preliminary round of Dragon's Den in front of your peers, and as Varley admits, there are often some real gems on show: ‘It’s great to see what people are working on and coming up with. There will often be somebody you have never heard of before, and they stand up and show their product and you think "wow, that’s going to be on everybody’s phone in six months!", that’s really exciting.’ A second-time-around entrepreneur, Varley is using her experience to make sure TechHub fills the void that many others catering for the sector have left gaping: ‘We focus on product-oriented technology companies. That means companies creating something that then gets pushed out there into the world for people to use, whether consumer

or business-to-business. It means we don’t have members who are agents or consultants because that is a different type of business. Product start-ups usually have no money to begin with and more outlay – we want to support them by offering a non-expensive membership so they have a place to work and connect.’ Sign-up is simple: a yearly membership with application via an online form at techub.com, but membership is not guaranteed. ‘We do curate our membership, so we don’t take everybody. Partly because it is for product-only companies, but also because it is for people who are not just in it for cheap desk space, it is for people who want to be part of the community and want to get something from it or they want to contribute something to it. That really adds to the feel of the place. People are more likely to help each other out with things. That’s really nice.’ Varley is as enthusiastic as the people she hopes to inspire, too. ‘People are so generous with their time and with their expertise, when others say “you really

We help start-ups get better, faster

seem to know Ruby, can you give me a hand with something I am really stuck on”, or something like “I need a contact with a high street bank”. It’s so great seeing people clustering around somebody’s screen, seeing what they’re doing. That’s what it is all about. Sometimes it’s better to learn from people who have just been there and done it than experts who did it 10 years ago and who don’t necessarily really remember what it was like having no money and no time and having to slog it out.’ TechHub – and Varley herself – is very proud to have launched from Tech City. ‘We first opened in Shoreditch because there was already a strong techie cluster of people working nearby. It wouldn’t have made much sense to have set up somewhere and then told everybody to come and join us in an odd location, however cheap it was. It made perfect sense for us to open where there are other great technology companies because we also want to provide a focal point for the technology community. It’s not just about our members here, it is also about the community who come for events, who meet with our member companies and help them thrive.’ From her infectious chatter, Varley’s passion for her cause and location is clear as she concludes: ‘Shoreditch really is buzzing with entrepreneurial activity. I really love that, bumping into different people I know from other start-ups and running into them in the pub. It is a nice sense of belonging. As human beings I think we look for that. It’s nice.’ We couldn’t agree more.

The writing's on the wall for TechHub's flourishing community

www.techcitymagazine.co.uk

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Tech City Magazine  

Tech City Magazine is the first publication for the Tech City area of London. The magazine is a business / lifestyle publication promoting...

Tech City Magazine  

Tech City Magazine is the first publication for the Tech City area of London. The magazine is a business / lifestyle publication promoting...

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