Top tech company WANdisco relocates to Sheffield's new digital hub to expand

A fast-growing tech company is moving into Sheffield’s new digital hub in a big boost for an up-and-coming area of the city.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 4:57 pm
WANdisco's new home in in Castle House.

WANdisco is relocating all 60 staff from the Electric Works near the station to Kollider at Castle House, the former Co-op department store on Angel Street, which reopened as tech centre earlier this year after a £3m taxpayer-funded revamp.

WANdisco helps firms move data from hard drives into the cloud. It was set up in California by Sheffield-born David Richards in 2005. He chose Sheffield for its UK head office in 2009.

Mr Richards said the move gave them space to expand – and he hoped it would accelerate the regeneration of the Castlegate area.

One of the independent kitchens in Kommune.

He added: “WANdisco has now been in Sheffield for more than 10 years and we are extremely grateful to the city.

“Opening in Sheffield was one of the best decisions we made as a business. There were some raised eyebrows among our peers in London at the time but the incredible supply of talent in the city, the fantastic universities and the support of Sheffield City Council have been instrumental to our growth.

“We are very excited to be joining the community at Kollider and proud to reaffirm our very strong commitment to Sheffield, the base for our core development and engineering teams and a great place to grow a global technology business.

“We really need to expand and the Kollider space gives us the ability to do that and keep the team together. I particularly like the fact that we are moving into an area of the city that is transforming and hopefully we can accelerate that.”

David Richards launches a bee project at Stocksbridge Junior School.

WANdisco will join occupants including a Barclays Eagle Lab tech incubator and the Kommune food hall, which was established with a £175,000 from Sheffield City Council using government funds. The council also gave £145,000 of DCMS monies to another resident, the National Videogame Museum. The WANdisco move is not benefiting from public cash.

The firm will occupy an ‘industrial-style’ space with meeting pods, breakout areas, a balcony overlooking the city and a large walk-in safe converted to a bar for corporate events.

Nick Morgan, director of Kollider Projects, said: “We are delighted to welcome WANdisco to our growing community of digital, tech and creative businesses. “The company is a global success story with Sheffield roots and its presence at Kollider will help to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in our city.

“David and I share a desire to support ambition in Sheffield and bring opportunity to people, attract talent and help start and scale up successful businesses.”

Official launch of the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation's partnership with the Astrea Academy Trust. Pictured are David and Jane with CEO Libby Nicholas, left, and pupils from left: Liam Daniel, 12, Ismail Jalloh, Ariam Saleh, 12, and Caitlyn Mukasa, 12. Picture: Chris Etchells

WANdisco’s former home on Sheffield Digital Campus is owned by Sheffield City Council.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, said the authority had helped the company link with other businesses and education providers on a number of projects.

He added: “This is excellent news for WANdisco enabling its long-term growth in Sheffield.

“It’s also a fantastic vote of confidence for the new Kollider project and the emergence of Castelgate as a new area for technology businesses and start-ups. “Castlegate is the city’s ancient heart, but now it is absolutely central to our ambitions to be the go-to destination for digital and tech start-ups.

“It’s pleasing to see Electric Works performing its role of helping companies to grow and then move into other parts of the city.”

Built in 1964, Castle House was one of the first department stores of its kind in the UK with generous provision of stairs, lifts and open spaces and is Grade II-listed.

WANdisco has engaged Just H Architects to design an agile, collaborative working space.

David and wife Jane Richards run a family foundation that has pumped more than £1m into computer courses and bee hives in Sheffield schools.