James Governor's Monkchips

The Village Hall Gets a Sponsor: IBM Comes to Shoreditch

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As I am sure many of you know, I have been working hard to get Shoreditch Works, a coworking and event space business off the ground. Don’t worry, I am still 100% committed to RedMonk, this is a side business. Sadly my Shoreditch Works co-founders decided they could no longer give the company any time, but having raised money on kickstarter, and put it into the Village Hall, I felt i needed to stay the course. I raised money from you all, so i am damn well going to stay the distance, even if it is a marathon.

But London real estate is crazy expensive. Managing facilities? Ditto. We run developer events, product launches, meetups and hackathons, many of them free, but we’re very much a scrappy startup rather than a well capitalised marketing expense like Google Campus. Frankly, we needed a commercial partner looking to make an investment in supporting developers and startups in Shoreditch, which is basically London’s SOMA, if we were going to be able to run free events and so on.

IBM is that sponsor. We recently ran a launch event explaining how and why IBM wants to get closer to practitioners and startups.

As Rob Lamb, Vice President of IBM Software Group Manufacturing & Development Europe, put it:

Our aspiration is that over the coming years, our relationships with venture capitalists will deepen and broaden—as will our investment in startups. In partnership with venture capitalists and through our investments, we will help the next generation of entrepreneurs bring innovations to market and help transform business and society. Today’s announcement is an important step forward in this mission.

We’re going to run some events in conjunction with IBM over the next few months, while I be telling you more about in short order. But the basic idea is that I will help IBM to better serve developers in the local cluster, and in the process help IBM win market permission with these practitioners and entrepreneurs. The evening after the launch event we hosted the London Node user Group. It was cool to have Mikael Rogers and @sleepyfox saying: “i didn’t even know IBM had a PaaS, let alone one that runs node.js.” about BlueMix.

One issue i am slightly concerned about is perceptions of conflict of interest. I am an industry analyst after all. But all i can do is practice full disclosure, and I will be mentioning the sponsorship alongside standard disclaimers in future publications. I hope people understand I am doing this for the right reasons, to support communities, and I needed the help. We will continue to run all kinds of events at the space, and IBM has no right of veto or anything weird like that.

Anyway – one cool thing about working with IBM is that it loves infographics. Here is the first one based on the Shoreditch Works IBM collaboration.


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