Talking Points


In response to our feature on start-ups, Asif Faruque of Level39 discusses how their entrepreneur and corporate clients ecosystem encompasses the vibe of a bank crossed with Facebook.


FX

By Asif Faruque

At Level39 we read your December issue with excitement, particularly the article headlined Off to a Flying Start?, which outlined the spaces and organisations supporting young creatives in London and across the UK. We're no strangers to gifted innovators and in response to your feature wanted to give you a snapshot of our ecosystem here at Level39.

Canary Wharf Group launched a dedicated accelerator space for tech start-ups on the 39th floor of its iconic One Canada Square skyscraper in 2013, providing a comprehensive ecosystem to support the rapid growth of young entrepreneurs in the sector.

Gensler was commissioned to design an office hub halfway between Facebook HQ and a bank, providing the optimal environment for entrepreneurs and corporates
Gensler was commissioned to design an office hub halfway between Facebook HQ and a bank, providing the optimal environment for entrepreneurs and corporates

Level39 is now Europe's largest technology accelerator for finance and future cities' technologies, among others, with 194 exceptional member companies. As an enterprise, we've matched the fast growth of many of our members and have expanded twice over the past few years, opening two additional floors of 'high-growth space', dedicated for fast-growing businesses, bringing our full capacity to 7,450 sq m.

Many of our members are younger individuals just starting out in the business world, and while they may be new to the industry they are no less discerning than big businesses when it comes to commercial property. With this in mind, we brought in global architecture practice Gensler -- which designed Facebook HQ's -- to design an office hub halfway between Facebook and a bank, providing the optimal environment for both the entrepreneurs and the corporate companies that engage in our programme.

As a primary business and financial hub, Canary Wharf is home to some of the largest and most high-profile institutions in the world, presenting not only an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to engage directly with these companies but also physical proximity.

Through Level39 Canary Wharf Group builds connections between these experienced professionals and the next generation of innovators through a busy programme of events and mentorship schemes. We bring in advisers, mentors and experts as well as top-level VC and strategic investors to guide these start-ups and engage with them.

Gensler was commissioned to design an office hub halfway between Facebook HQ and a bank, providing the optimal environment for entrepreneurs and corporates
Gensler was commissioned to design an office hub halfway between Facebook HQ and a bank, providing the optimal environment for entrepreneurs and corporates

Alongside the programmatic elements of Level39 we also offer the quirks of a start-up hub: a daily cookie bell rings, bringing our members together at 3pm over freshly baked biscuits; a monthly members' party; an executive restaurant and meeting space, ClubLounge39, where our members can meet with their mentors or new business contacts in a more formal environment with one of the best views in London; and a host of event spaces, including two sandboxes where innovators can test out their new technologies in a carefully curated environment.

In light of our rapid growth over the past 30 months, the general layout of Level39 has changed to accommodate growing demand, with more desks, more offices and less empty space -- all of which has been aided by Canary Wharf Group's flexibility as our owner.

We've seen multiple companies take their first steps at Level39 and graduate into more traditional commercial spaces elsewhere on the Canary Wharf estate, and this is a trend we hope to see more of in 2016 and beyond.





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