Opening in early 2013 on the 39th floor of the iconic One Canada Square, London’s tallest operational office building, the incubator and accelerator space will be a sophisticated office and social space for small businesses to create, test, market and deliver world-class financial technology products and services.
The initiative aims to help improve the transparency, competitiveness and client services of the financial services sector, while enhancing London’s position as the technology capital of Europe. The new facility will create a focal point for Europe’s ‘FinTech’ innovators and ensure that London takes full advantage of the global surge in financial and big data technologies.
The accelerator will be called Level39 and occupy the entire 29,000 sq ft 39th floor and will give small and growing technology businesses unrivalled access to new customers, partners, talent, investment, ideas and social and cultural amenities provided by Canary Wharf.
Canary Wharf Group will use Level39 to bring together its existing financial and professional services tenants, which employ over 100,000 people at Canary Wharf, and connect them with London’s burgeoning technology scene. The initiative will be led by Eric Van Der Kleij, technology entrepreneur and outgoing Chief Executive of Tech City Investment Organisation (“TCIO”). Van Der Kleij has been appointed by the Group to help Canary Wharf and Wood Wharf become even more attractive to the FinTech sector and the wider digital economy.
Level39’s layout has been designed in ‘tech industry’ style by renowned architects Gensler, who have worked on some of the world’s most exciting workspaces including offices for Facebook and Google. Work is already underway to transform the space, which will include:
• An exclusive set of ‘sandboxes’ which will enable accelerator programmes, software engineers and builders of financial services platforms to refine, test and showcase their financial technology products in a safe, ring-fenced environment
• A new 200 seat event space to host regular industry events and demonstration days with impressive views over the City of London
• The Level39 Business Club Lounge, which will host a membership-style club attracting leading industry figures and investors
• A growth-phase zone for businesses experiencing rapid expansion, making it easier to meet potential clients and partners, investors, mentors and other entrepreneurs. This will include an open plan kitchen.
• Semi-open and open-plan office areas to service the needs of early-stage and growth phase businesses
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Attracting the brightest entrepreneurial minds is crucial if London is to maintain its position as the world’s foremost financial centre. Level39 is sure to foster talent and help the capital’s technology and financial sectors flourish, in turn driving jobs and growth.”
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canary Wharf Group, said: “Canary Wharf is the ideal place to fuse together London’s world-leading financial sector with its burgeoning technology sector. If we do this successfully, it will help London’s financial services move forwards after several challenging years, benefitting the whole economy through enhanced competition, transparency and client services.
Eric Van Der Kleij said: “Level39 will help startups, accelerator programmes and fast growing technology companies connect with the business opportunities, talent, investment and advice provided by the world’s leading financial services providers already established at Canary Wharf and the City of London. We will partner with the world’s best FinTech investors, incubators and accelerator programmes to support businesses as they progress from start-up through to expansion and growth stages. This will be a place for industry experts to come together, share knowledge and develop up-and-coming talent with a view to bringing new products and services to the market.”