Last month, we traveled to London to check out its startup scene. The trip was courtesy of London & Partners, a not-for-profit funded by the city’s mayor.
Part of the tour included a trip to Mind Candy, one of Europe’s biggest and buzziest startups. It’s a game company and social network for children, founded by Michael Acton Smith. Investors think Mind Candy and its rapidly growing Moshi Monster franchise is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mind Candy just moved into its new headquarters a few months ago to accommodate the 200 person team. Office perks include: a Friday happy hour started by Acton Smith called Beer o’clock, a chef who comes in monthly to cook lunches, ping pong matches, and a slide.
One thing that’s unusual, besides all the vines tangled in ceiling vents and astro turf carpeting, are all the kids running through the headquarters. It’s like being in a magical day-care centre, where parents drop off their children to play games and, conveniently, user test Mind Candy products.
Mind Candy is one of the biggest, buzziest tech companies in London. It's located on 15 Bonhill Street in Greater London.
Fake ivy dangles from pipes and ceiling vents. It's strewn throughout meeting rooms and lines the office parameter.
Behind Daisy's desk is a tree house, with a porch and windows. It's an elaborately disguised meeting room.
Not much to look at inside, but that could change. Mind Candy just moved into this office one month prior, so it's pretty amazing what it has already done with the place.
To the right are colourful bean bags with Moshi Monster characters on them. In front of them is a sign that lights up bright orange and reads, Fun Fair.
Next to the treehouse is the boardroom. The glass walls are behind life-size designs from Moshi Monster's games. Moshi is a popular website for kids that lets them adopt a virtual monster and play online games.
Inside the board room, we're greeted by Michael Acton Smith, CEO and founder of Mind Candy. He's like Willy Wonka and his headquarters, the Chocolate Factory.
Many of the walls have Moshi Monster art drawn on them as well paper. Here's wall paper with the characters in black and white.
These Happy Meal boxes are here because of a Mind Candy-McDonald's partnership that ran last December. Mind Candy filled each meal with Moshi Monster toys to create brand awareness in the United States.
There's a kitchen area with booths where employees can hold lunch meetings. The vines line this area too.
Children come in after school to test and play Moshi Monster games. So the toys that abound in the office are as much for them as for Mind Candy's employees. Here's a full race car track set.
And another. These kids are testing the products with David Stribling, one of Mind Candy's UX Designer.
Near the slide, there's a strange mannequin encased in class, wearing a dress made of Moshi Monster toys.
Two members of the Tools team, developer Russell Webb and software engineer Guy John are hard at work.
Last, we found the ping pong table, a staple for any startup, and headed out of the magical Moshi world, through the elevators.
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