Makerversity grows the London startup scene


Makerversity grows the London startup scene - Common Works Studio Space

I first learned of Makerversity at the Discover Blue event back in the summer, highlighting the latest gadgets and technologies featuring Bluetooth wireless comms. Sensible Objects, and their Beasts of Balance game, were showing off their innovative work and mentioned the location. I knew Somerset House – art collections, cafe’s summer concerts – but I didn’t know it housed a fair number of London’s maker community and startup ventures, including technology outfits as well as the design and fashion firms.

So, what’s it about? Andy Hutt, marketing and events manager, took me on a tour.


As well as supporting professional makers – be it with co-working spaces or clean and messy workshop spaces, machines and tools – they also run learning programmes, to help inspire a new generation of creative makers.

WorkshopsAll Makerversity members are encouraged to pass on their experiences and expertise to others, and Andy emphasised the importance of community, that people will help each other, whether practically, in terms of sharing tools, or theoretically, by sharing knowledge and experience.

To help build community spirit there are a number of initiatives. We’re talking Friday Breakfasts, monthly drinks night, shared access to tools and machines…

Luke_Walker_45Makerversity features both hot desking (from £175 for 60 hours a month) and permanent desks (from £295 for 24-hour access) as well as “vaults”, which are office spaces for larger teams.


Created by four founders who wanted to help boost Making in the city, it has also supported initiatives such as the Prince’s Trust and provides a learning curriculum to help young people get started. Basically, it provides development and office space without requiring a large-scale investment.

Examples? You can see all the alumni on the organisation’s website but they include Ding, for smart doorbells (which took part in the third edition of John Lewis’ scheme for start-ups, JLAB), Instrument PD, and its Bento Lab portable DNA analysis kit, and the Beasts of Balance team (more anon).

From London to Amsterdam

Following the success of Makerversity London the team behind it has opened up a second site, in Amsterdam. If that takes off maybe we’ll see Makerversities graduating around the world.

Worth keeping an eye on, and certainly worth checking out if you are on the first steps of turning your own projects into serious prototypes, changing from being an amateur hobbyist to a professional maker… see

Beasts of balance

Another reason to catch up with the Beasts of Balance team was to meet an early entrant to the EW BrightSparks programme: one Chris Shaw, Lead Engineer at the company.

But first, what is Beasts of Balance? A digital board game hybrid, is one description, which is iOS and Android compatible for the tablet / phone element of the game play.

beasts of balance website

The game could be described as “Jenga 2.0, or Jenga meets Pokemon”. It’s a stacking game that bids to bring toys to life, via the swiping of a NFC tag in the equivalent physical object.

Basically, It takes 2D games and extends them, going beyond the likes of Skylanders or Disney Infinity.