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We started Decoded in 2012 with nothing more than a credit card, and a belief that we could teach anyone Code in a Day. Fast forward to 2017, and in the past year we have taught in over 85 cities worldwide, we've opened offices in London, New York and Sydney and we are decoding all the digital dark arts from cyber security to AI and Blockchain.

Kathryn Parsons

Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded

Desperate to get your start-up idea off the ground but can't afford Soho House or WeWork?

Fear not.  We started Decoded out of the coffee shops, libraries and many wonderful nooks and crannies in London that offer free wifi and abundant inspiration.

Here are a few of my favourites.

Silicon Roundabout

Head to London's original heart of tech to mingle with the code, start-up and tech set.

Start with coffee and meetings at Shoreditch Grind.  Just outside Old Street station, this coffee shop has been dosing up the start-ups of Shoreditch since the early days of 2012. Founded by David Abrahamovitch, he knows a thing or two about starting a business himself expanding the "Shoreditch" brand to several locations across London and growing. Don't forget to check out the recording studio upstairs when you nip to the loos.

Shoreditch Grind

Shoreditch Grind, Old Street Roundabout. Image: Grind

Grab lunch at Ozone Coffee Roasters on Leonard Street.  Possibly the best eggs in the area. But make sure you get there before midday to get the brunch menu. These New Zealanders take their coffee seriously, and huge bags of the stuff are freshly roasted on site. Call ahead to book one of the booths. Keep your eyes peeled, I regularly spot VCs in there doing deals with the next big thing.  Downstairs you can book a large room for pitches and presentations too.

In the afternoon head to the Ace Hotel, it's a regular favourite offsite spot for the Decoded team.  And in the evening head to Andina just next door.  Founded by Martin Morales, he's brought his love of Peruvian Ceviche to several locations across London.  I love this one as there are two spots you can book out for groups.  My favourite being the music room upstairs.  Martin started his career in the tech and music world before pursing his passion for cooking.  He's a big fan and friend to the start-up community.

The music room at Andina, Shoreditch. Image: Andina.

The music room at Andina, Shoreditch. Image: Time Out.

Old School Favourites

Sometimes the best inspiration comes when you get away from the start-up crowd.  I did a lot of my business planning in the early days at The British Library.  Remember to get there early and join the queue to make sure you get a seat.  You'll find yourself surrounded by taxi drivers scrubbing up for The Knowledge, post-grads writing their theses and budding entrepreneurs making use of the library's abundant business resources.  

A little further down the road find The Wellcome Collection, brimming with students, tourists, writers and creatives.  You'll find plenty of inspiration and respite amongst their weird and wonderful exhibitions.  Starting a med tech start up?  You are in the perfect place.  Do some research on the Wellcome Trust whilst you are there, the world's second largest private funders of medical research after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wellcome Collection

The Reading Room at the Wellcome Collection. Image: FT.com.

If you fancy taking in a good view to stimulate your creative thinking head to the top floor of Waterstones in Piccadilly.  A quiet spot overlooking Big Ben, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.  You won't be short of reference materials amongst the 5 stories of books beneath you.

A few streets away you'll find one of my favourite Starbucks, on Vigo Street.  It it a hop and skip away from all the major VCs and investors who still predominantly reside in Mayfair. The ground floor is deceptively small, but upstairs and in the basement you will find large quiet spaces perfect for meetings.

  • Hoxton Hotel
  • Selfridges
  • Soho House
  • Stella Magazine
  • Stylist
  • Time Out
  • The Times
  • Press