Social networking company Twitter last week acquired London-based 3-year-old online startup company TweetDeck for $40 million.
TweetDeck is a social media site and application programmed by Iain Dodsworth, a 36-year-old British developer who was unemployed 3 years ago and out of an abundance of free time decided to develop an interactive website. TweetDeck also has applications for Android and iOS devices.
The acquisition is a coup for Dodsworth, who went from being in the unemployment line to a millionaire in a matter of years. It is also a coup for the burgeoning high-technology industry in the U.K.
"It feels like a really big win for London," says Dodsworth in a statement. "It feels like there's something meaningful there. It's quite a big deal that we were even bought in the first place. We are now Twitter, and we happen to be in London—it's significant that Twitter understands the benefit of having something outside of San Francisco."
"[The deal shows that] if a company is looking at acquiring smaller companies, they don't just have to look at the U.S. Perhaps if we were just around the corner in Silicon Valley they'd have just snapped up the team, moved them in and that's it," added Dodsworth.
London has struggled to prove to the world that it also has its own Silicon Valley located in the roundabout at the junction of City Road and Old Street—dubbed the "Silicon Roundabout." According to reports, there are more than 85 startup software and Internet companies densely packed in the area.
Although the U.K. government has taken notice of the success and begun supporting it, Silicon Roundabout developed without government support, mostly during the recent recession. Now tech giants like Google and Cisco have also taken notice and begun investing there.
The tech area has the benefits of its wealth and appeal to investors and global talent, cheap rent, high-speed Internet, an abundance of creative youth, its proximity to higher-education centers, and the English language.
TweetDeck is one of the many young startup companies in the Silicon Roundabout, sharing an open-plan office with about a dozen other startup companies. Last Thursday night, the whole Silicon Roundabout was celebrating one of their biggest success stories so far. The TweetDeck team started with just Dodsworth but now employs 15. TweetDeck will stay in London following the acquisition.
"We remain the same team, staying in London, with the same focus and products," said Dodsworth.
“The reason why the Silicon Valley success story rolls on is because the people in those companies have success, share success, other people see it, they start new companies and the thing snowballs," said Dodsworth. "By having people in the same area—the same physical location—that is like an amplifying device. It's a successful formula, and that's why people want to move here."
The idea of TweetDeck is to allow Twitter users to organize the feeds of celebrities, brands, and people they follow on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and other social sites. It allows users to follow the trends of their favorite topics and see what others are posting about them. Out of all Tweets worldwide, about 13 percent come from TweetDeck. TweetDeck can be followed on Twitter via @Tweetdeck.
As of Saturday, May 28, TweetDeck was the 11th biggest brand on Twitter in terms of “followers today,” according to fanpagelist.com