Mention ‘technology’ to most people, and they’ll think of somewhere like Silicon Valley. The top firms cluster in the area, making it a hub of activity. Hence, ‘technology hub’.
Since 2012, companies in Silicon Valley have brought in $140 billion in funding. It’s no surprise firms like PayPal, Google, Facebook, and Tesla hang out there.
Tech hubs don’t have to be the size of Silicon Valley to be important. Beijing, Berlin, and Tel Aviv are also home to exciting tech startups. Without tech hubs, these firms might never get started.
Wondering what a tech hub actually is? Read on to find out!
What Is a Tech Hub?
The most simple definition is that tech hubs are places where a community gathers. That community can work on innovative solutions within the tech sector.
They’re popular with startups because they create spaces where startups can meet investors. Tech hubs also make business networking much easier.
Concentrating firms in these spaces also allows for better products to emerge. Startups enjoy a cross-pollination of ideas by collaborating or discussing problems.
Tech hubs need more than just a lot of companies in one place. They also need to have amazing internet connections and good transport links.
Links to educational establishments also help. That way, there’s a natural progression from student to graduate to worker.
There’s also some crossover with co-working spaces. Some of these businesses operate co-working spaces all over the world. Members pay a monthly fee and they can find a desk at their nearest building.
Where Are Tech Hubs Based?
Regional college towns often attract people to work in engineering, science, or technology. That includes places like Boulder, Colorado, or Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Both of these towns are home to state universities. Students come to study, and then stay to find work when they graduate.
Parts of cities can also become a tech hub. In London, the King’s Cross area has replaced the Silicon Roundabout as the main tech hub. You’ll find a high density of tech firms in this area, including Google and Facebook.
They also pair technological innovation with good old-fashioned book learning. The British Library is just down the street.
Even a single building can become a tech hub, which often suits co-working spaces. Until its closure in May 2018, Campus North served as a tech hub for Newcastle upon Tyne in northern England.
Why Are Tech Hubs Important?
They give like-minded people a place to congregate. Tech hubs also give people a chance to meet who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have met.
Take Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Wozniak is an excellent engineer. Though he probably wouldn’t have had the vision and personality to make Apple what it is today.
Meanwhile, Jobs didn’t have the technical skill or knowhow to make Apple computers. Together, they could get their machines in front of the people who needed them.
Tech hubs also take advantage of other factors. Having those top educational establishments nearby means companies are never short of talent. Infrastructure serves the whole area, so all the nearby startups benefit.
Government incentives often also provide a great reason for hubs to get started. Look at Lisbon in Portugal. Tech startups can choose a support plan through the Startup Portugal platform.
These plans help them to find investment, refine their business model, and grow into mature companies. Google opened a Lisbon office in 2018.
Working close to each other helps companies spur each other through competition.
How Do I Choose a Tech Hub as a Base?
If you’re a startup, you might be wondering how to choose where to locate your business. For those looking at existing hubs, consider the universities nearby.
That’s where you’ll find your future talent.
Consider the lifestyle offered by the city. This might not be important to you, but it’ll affect the talent you can attract.
Berlin is largely cheaper in terms of living costs than other major cities. It also offers a diverse creative culture.
Meanwhile, London is extremely expensive but is still a major draw in terms of culture, nightlife, and social opportunities.
Check the prices you’ll pay in rent, and the wages you’ll be expected to pay. Less obvious hubs like Lisbon or Newcastle will let you pay lower wages because the cost of living is lower.
Finally, check the available infrastructure. You’ll do most work remotely, but if you or your staff need to travel, you won’t want to make it hard on yourself.
Meet the Online Tech Hub
Tech hubs don’t only exist in the real world. You can also find them online.
Online tech hubs recreate the tech hub ecosystem in an online space. Tech startups that don’t have access to a physical hub nearby can get involved.
This gives them access to their peers, so they can get feedback and mentoring. By speaking to people further along the path, startups can avoid mistakes and progress faster.
It also gives more established tech firms access to new ideas, perspectives, and talent. These online hubs also allow for greater connectivity in more remote parts of the world.
Check out this technology hub. Electric Garden has an FCC ID database so tech startups can search for public device applications. Or they can get alerts whenever products or companies release news.
This is a great way for tech startups to stay ahead of the curve. Approvals for devices usually happen well before products are released to consumers.
It lets more established companies keep up with technology developments. Startups can keep tabs on the competition. Journalists can also get early news for articles, giving startups great exposure.
Which Tech Hub Will You Choose?
Maybe you want to start a tech firm. Perhaps you want to join one. Or maybe you’re interested in investing in technology.
Whatever your intention, choose your tech hub with care. Balance the available talent with the lifestyle of the hub’s city.
Track what other companies in those hubs are doing. Pick the hub that best aligns with the technology you’re interested in.
Why not check out our networking articles while you’re here?