It all started more than two years ago. Google noticed gravitational pull of London's heart of tech, called just that: Tech City. In April 2012 it opened a building with five levels of flexible co-working spaces and an event space. It was later dubbed the 'open source building'. What started as a building in east London is today a global way for Google to help startups and entrepreneurs.
When you would ask any company to help local community, each company would put its own spin on a project like that. Campus London started first as an iconic building, signed by Google. The fun fact is that you would not even see the Google name in it.
What is the reach of Campus London?
Let's look at reach and impact of Campus London. Here is an update of a few key KPIs that they measure:
- 35,000 registered members
- delivered over 1000 hours of mentoring from Googlers in 2014 so far
- hosted more than 1000 community led events per year.
Photo: Results of Campus London in 2013
Right from the start the Campus team decided to focus on three key areas:
- Environment. A physical space that helps startups with office space, encourages collaboration and learning.
- Density. Startups need to grow. Having access to a dense network is a great enabler. Over 100,000 visitors walk through the Campus doors every year.
- Serendipity. A great workplace encourages random encounters and helps people bump into each other, exchange ideas and collaborate.
Even though there is room to improve, this strategy seems to work and so far results are pretty impressive for a single building.
What's next? Connected network
If the Campus project can achieve so much with a single building, imagine what the impact would be with a network of Campuses around the world. And that is exactly what Google aims to do. It is already present in London and Tel Aviv. In 2015 it plans to open its doors on three continents: in Madrid, Warsaw, Seoul and Sao Paulo.
It is not easy to upgrade smartness. Only a few companies have managed to achieve it. One of them is now part of the Google empire: NEST. What started as a device that learns the preferences of its user, is now something way more impactful. Because Nest thermostats are now interconnected (opt-in based), they give their users cash back if they let Nest intelligently use their thermostats in the peak. With this additional level of smartness it has an impact the capacity of the grid.
Photo: Will Campus achieve the level of smartness of Nest?
Now imagine global Campus program being managed in such interconnected, smart way. This could have enormous impact on the entire startup eco-system.
What's next for Campus?
Google has the right set of tools for entrepreneurs and it is not shy to offer them to entrepreneurs. Whether you need developer tools, access to cloud platform or size your market via google trends. Google is such a big company that many entrepreneurs don't know how much value they can get from it in so many ways.
Our last keynote speaker of 2014 is the global head of Campus program, Sarah Drinkwater. As an active startup mentor and UK leading community expert she understands challenges that startups face and kindly agreed to share with our audience how Google helps startups deals with them.
When we spoke with Sarah about female entrepreneurship, she highlighted an interesting point. We should talk about female entrepreneurs for what they achieved, not because they happen to be female entrepreneurs. We could not agree more.