Yoox Net-A-Porter Group has announced the opening of a new Tech Hub in White City, West London, which it says reaffirms its commitment to London and investment in the UK.
Companies launching initiatives in the UK at present seem to be keen to stress their commitment to the UK given fears that multiple businesses could move abroad, or choose to launch major new projects abroad, as the country prepares to quite the EU.
But instead of doing that, YNAP said the new Tech Hub “is key to [its] growth strategy” and part of an investment of more than €500m in technology and logistics across the group designed to help double the size of the business by the start of the next decade.
The 70,000 sq ft space at White City Place will bring the firm’s UK tech teams under one roof with 500 staff and a further 100 jobs created over the next two years. The company also has a 500-strong tech team in Bologna, Italy, that collaborates closely with London.
But this is about more than just an office move. The Tech Hub has been built to “accelerate innovation and deliver best-in-class technologies, further strengthening the group’s partnerships with many of the world’s leading luxury fashion brands and providing an unparalleled customer experience,” it said.
Ok, that may seem like press release hyperbole. But it’s clear that the business is heavily focused on upping its game in the tech area on which all pureplay internet businesses rely.
Work at the Tech Hub will include developing Artificial Intelligence capabilities, such as personalisation and image recognition, and “creating the next wave of mobile technologies, that will keep YNAP in the vanguard of digital innovation.”
The company said award-winning British architects, Grimshaw, have created a future-focused environment which also reflects YNAP’s “unique position at the intersection of fashion and technology.”
And the Tech Hub is designed to inspire creative ways of working, as the group seeks to attract top digital talent. It said it will facilitate a mobile working culture, while simultaneously supporting seamless collaboration with the group’s other global offices.
Also interesting is the fact that, as part of its plan to invest in education, it has partnered with Imperial College London, whose White City campus is under construction, to launch an initiative to teach local children from underprivileged backgrounds aged 8-14 the basics of coding.
The project aims to increase the number of children, especially young girls, who have access to coding classes and promote the importance of digital skills.
YNAP will also play a key part in the White City regeneration project, which is transforming W12 into one of London’s most most interesting live-work-play super-hubs for technology, creativity and innovation.
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