Mendeley will move to new office in London’s Tech City
Integration with Elsevier and continued growth prompted move to cutting-edge collaborative workspace
By Alice Atkinson-Bonasio Posted on 10 December 2014
A lot has happened since Mendeley was acquired by Elsevier last year, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the amiable but decidedly crowded atmosphere of our London office in White Bear Yard. The past 18 months saw explosive growth for the company, even by the standards of London's booming technology industry, with employee numbers – which were around 40 prior to the acquisition – expected to triple by the end of 2015.
Mendeley moved into the current space back in 2009, sharing the building with some of its early investors at Passion Capital. As this video shows, the situation back then was very different, with vast amounts of spare space being rented out to other start-ups.
When I joined in early 2013, there was still a small "island" of sublet desks, but those soon went, as the additional resources and new projects the partnership with Elsevier brought meant recruiting a lot of brilliant people very quickly. Given the competition for top talent in the London Tech scene, this has been an incredible challenge. However, the fact that we managed to attract people from companies such as Apple, Google and the BBC shows the level of excitement for the solutions we're developing for the research community.
But there was still more we could do. As Mendeley's HR and Operations Manager — and keen boxer — Zuzana Borosova explained, "The culture of innovation that permeates the office atmosphere is another crucial element to attracting and retaining that talent."
Which is why when it became apparent that bigger premises would soon be needed to house the Mendeley and Elsevier teams developing those products and solutions, it took a while to find the perfect match.
"We were very picky, but with very good reason," explained Mendeley Co-founder and President Jan Reichelt:
We knew we needed a space that was not only big enough but also at the heart of Tech City, and which provided the atmosphere and facilities to enable the type of collaboration and innovation on this type of work depends on. It's not always about the chocolate fountains and unicorn petting zoo (although that might help), but about making people feel happy, valued and that their work truly makes a difference to users. The office environment shows that management recognizes that contribution. The investment Elsevier is making in this shows how committed they are to driving forward our joint vision of building a global research collaboration platform.
The team will be moving to the new Alphabeta development in Shoreditch, where they signed a 10-year lease on a 19,000 square foot space that includes digital user-testing facilities, a yoga room, a basketball court and a ramp that allows cyclists to ride directly into the building. The move will take place in the first part of the year after renovations to the building are complete.
The building is a restoration and reformatting of the former Triton Court, which sits at the intersection of London's digital and financial districts and is close to the Google Campus and Amazon's new European HQ. And future lettings will continue to underline the building's appeal to "a new generation of creative business," according to Jacob Loftus of Resolution Property, the company that manages the development.
Fernando Fanton, SVP of Global Product and Technology at Elsevier, said the integration the two companies experienced since the acquisition has significantly advanced Mendeley's mission to help students and academics accelerate the pace of scientific discovery. One early example of this has been the enhanced cross-functionality and access to research from Elsevier's ScienceDirect and Scopus, the world's largest scientific and medical databases, which contain tens of millions of articles, abstracts and citations. Over the past 18 months, Mendeley has also started developing its much-requested Android app, done significant work in improving its social and recommendation features and launched a new API which will better enable third-party developers to build applications on the platform.
"Since we started working together with Mendeley, we realized just how much fantastic potential there is for using our combined talent and resources to accelerate innovation for the benefit of the research community," he explained. "Engineers, data scientists and product managers from across Mendeley and Elsevier are working together on some very exciting features, especially around social and recommendations. This move to Alphabeta is enabling us to continue to attract top talent and work collaboratively in a fast-paced, fun environment, but, most importantly, this translates directly into better tools and functionality for all our users."
Women in STEM – Zuzana Borosova
Elsevier Connect Contributor
Alice Atkinson-Bonasio (@alicebonasio) is PR and Communications Manager for Mendeley, the name of the company and its research collaboration platform and workflow tool that was acquired by Elsevier in April 2013. She holds an MA in creative and media enterprises from the University of Warwick and is completing a PhD in online marketing at Bournemouth University. She is based in Mendeley's London office.