Imperial College London open new tech hub with Blenheim Chalcot
Blenheim Chalcot, the UK-based digital venture builder, and Imperial College London welcomed its first business members to Scale Space on Imperial’s White City campus this week. This new 200,000ft2 facility, will be home to scale ups and innovative businesses across the technology, digital and life-sciences sectors.
Scale Space will formally launch in September after its first round of business members have moved in.
These first businesses include some truly innovative and high growth brands. They include DNAe, the company harnessing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to develop rapid clinical diagnostics for the point of need, alongside businesses backed by Blenheim Chalcot, including Salary Finance, who partner with employers to help employees improve their lives by improving their finances and Modulr, the fast-growing Payments as a Service API platform.
Scale Space is more than just an office building. It is an entirely new concept that brings Blenheim Chalcot’s venture building expertise together with universities to help scaling businesses grow effectively by connecting them with the right people, services, space and resources.
Blenheim Chalcot’s partnership with Imperial College creates the first Scale Space, designed to help the UK’s scale-up sector overcome growth challenges and secure the right support at the right time to grow effectively.
While the scale-up sector is growing at 23% and contributing £97bn to the UK economy, fewer than 3% of businesses make it past their first decade. Ninety-seven per cent fail as they can’t overcome common, but major challenges such as access to talent and skills, access to new domestic and international markets, company leadership, finance for growth and infrastructure.
Scale Space will help its members overcome these challenges and scale for long term success. It will do this by creating a growth community, connecting businesses together for mutual benefit, knowledge sharing and to help them draw on the specific skills and expertise within Blenheim Chalcot and its university partners. This will be delivered via a structured range of services accessed within the building or online.
The services for Scale Space White City are:
- Expert Know-How: Blenheim Chalcot believes scaling is a science. Scale Space will help its members speed their development by helping them draw on the knowledge and growth processes followed by other successful scaling businesses as well as research from The Scale Up Institute and academic thought leadership from Imperial College London as well as other experts.
- The Growth Network: Scale Space will help its members connect into its network of venture builders, academics, researchers, tech leaders and scale up leaders. Regular Scale Space member get togethers will help to build a collegiate environment of peer-to-peer support.
- Scale-up services: Scale Space will provide its members with access to specialist services and expertise. This will include monthly talent clinics to help businesses draw on talent from across Scale Space’s university network and talent partners. These services range from student placements to specific advice and paid for consultancy from growth specialists across HR, legal, tax and governance, through to specific projects delivered for companies by the Imperial College entrepreneurial student network, including MBA students.
- Space tailored for growth: Companies can curate the space they need to grow, ranging from fully fitted offices to research labs or office suites – and across a range of models from long-term traditional leases to flexible managed services.
Scale Space White City is opening in a three phased process:
- Phase 1 (100,000 ft2): Blenheim Chalcot companies and other scale ups move in between now and September 2020. [List of first companies to move in is below].
- Phase 2: In early 2021 Imperial College Business School will open a 12,000 ft2 purpose-built research and teaching facility. Additionally, a further 60,000 ft2 of office and laboratory space will open.
- Phase 3: A further 40,000 ft2 of office and laboratory space is planned for construction in 2021.
Mark Sanders, Executive Chairman, Scale Space said: “So much has been said about access to space, and while this is important it does not begin to address the challenges that growing businesses face as they scale. Our approach is entirely new. By linking Blenheim Chalcot’s venture building expertise together with the know-how and talent from world leading universities we not only provide space, but bring much needed support for scaling businesses, helping them unlock their full potential.”
“We’ve created Scale Space to help technology, life-science and digital businesses, through a combination of practical business building know-how, high-quality academic input and access to research and talent, which I believe makes us very different. Scale Space White City is particularly exciting as we are able to work with Imperial College, a world leading university, and its Business School. What we’re creating seems very relevant for our times, and nearly 70% of Scale Space White City is under offer already.”
Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London said: "We see our White City campus as a place where the best of business comes together with the best research and talent from Imperial College London to help create the enterprises of the future. We're excited about Scale Space and the partnership with Blenheim Chalcot as we know how critical scaling up is to early-stage startups. It’s wonderful to have our academic community directly engaged in this important ecosystem.”
Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School said: “Scaling businesses are an important engine for the UK economy and innovation globally - particularly when considering the role technology companies have in helping address key health and sustainability issues. The partnership with Blenheim Chalcot will help enhance our existing research on scale-up companies, particularly tech start-ups, providing us with valuable insights we can apply to our teaching of entrepreneurship and innovation, which form a key part of our MBA and Master’s degrees.
“By having a presence within Scale Space, the Business School will be at the heart of the latest thinking to help businesses scale, providing a unique environment for our students and academics to forge important connections with the other Scale Space members, bringing our world-class research, talent and expertise to these businesses and the wider entrepreneurship ecosystem of White City.”
Manoj Badale, Co-founder, Blenheim Chalcot, said: “One of the biggest challenges scale up companies face is sourcing talent that can think disruptively and drive innovation. Over the last 20 years we have seen our ventures accelerate their growth by tapping into the rich talent pool universities provide. For the first time, Scale Space White City will unlock this critical advantage for scaling businesses. Together with the right environment, resources and connections Scale Space will help drive forward UK innovation and growth at a time when start-ups and scale-ups have a crucial role to play in the UK’s economic recovery."
Scale Space, clad in corrugated steel with gold teku panels, creates a visual focal point on the White City campus. The interior provides a flexible working environment with offices spaces, tailored for each business. The building is designed to encourage interaction and collaboration, providing event space along with informal working and amenity spaces - including an outdoor meadow.
Blenheim Chalcot is in talks with universities across the UK to expand Scale Space across the country.