Facebook wants to mentor small UK firms at its new London headquarters


Facebook is searching for start-ups who want help building their business.

They gave Newsbeat a tour of their new London headquarters, which opened on Monday.

As well as announcing 800 new jobs in the UK, they’re also looking for small British start-ups to help mentor.

The new office is exactly what you’d imagine the HQ of a big tech firm to look like – it’s full of art works, it has free ice cream, nice coffee and has a London bus filled with pick & mix.

Illusionists performing on stage

. Facebook hired magicians and acrobats to mark the opening of their new building

As the company opened its doors for the first time, Newsbeat chatted to Steve Hatch, Facebook’s Vice President for Northern Europe.

He told us that creativity is at the heart of what they do.

“While it’s a big space (it’s 240,000 square feet and about 2,000 people will be working there) we want to make sure it’s an environment that people really love working in.

“So whether that’s about having great coffee available freely, some good food, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, there’s some donuts and gelato available as well.”

Pick & mix for Facebook staff

. There’s free pick & mix for the staff inside a London bus

The building was designed by the award-winning architect Frank Gehry, and while a lot of thought has gone into its design, it still has an unfinished look about it.

“The environment we have here, you’ll see the design style has a sense of it being slightly unfinished.

“And that’s because it’s a constant reminder to us that while we’ve made good strides forward in many areas, there’s still always more that we can do.”

All of the pipes are exposed on the ceiling

. The ceilings are meant to look unfinished, just like Facebook’s work

Facebook has launched its first in-house start-up incubator called LDN_LAB.

They say they want to help create the next generation of tech companies.

“We’re going to take five to six companies and invite them to join us in this space for a three-month programme.

“They’re going to learn from our experts in the areas of product design, engineering, even the kind of things like HR, which become more important as you get bigger.”

Facebook's new wall

. The new building even has a real “wall” that employees can write on

Applications for the programme are open now until early January.

Steve told Newsbeat: “We’re looking for companies that have been created and founded in the last three years.

“You have to be 50 people or fewer, and of course, most important, you have to be based here in the UK.

“Come and join us, learn from our expertise. I’m sure we’ll get huge amounts from it as well, seeing all the innovation that’s taking place.”

A laptop at Facebook HQ London

We asked Steve for his top tips for getting into the world of tech.

“The advice that I’d have is, obviously be passionate about the area you’re interested in and do your research.

“We’ve got people here from up and down the UK and from right the way around the world.

“We have 65 nationalities that are in this business and we believe the diversity and inclusiveness that we have here at Facebook is a core strength of what we do.”

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