Level39 is a community of technology companies based on several floors of the One Canada Square building in Canary Wharf in London. Level39 provides office space, mentoring and networking support to companies in the fintech, cyber security, retail technology and smart-city sectors. Other industries present include blockchain, artificial intelligence, enterprise, regtech and SaaS companies.
We spoke to Asif Faruque, Head of Content at Level39, about why London is an attractive base for emerging technology companies to grow.
What does your company do?
“Level39 is a community of fast-growth technology companies. We operate four floors of One Canada Square (the tallest and first skyscraper in Canary Wharf) and manage the environment for start-ups and fast growth businesses to grow. We offer support by maintaining a network of business leaders, mentors and investors who are entrepreneurs can call on for advice and opportunity. We focus on delivering an ideal environment for these start-ups to internationally scale their businesses from their humble beginnings.
It's essentially a mixture of space and support and our main selling support is that community aspect. This is one of the few places in London, if not the world, where you can be surrounded by very ambitious like-minded entrepreneurs who are typically building businesses in the financial technology sector or in the cybersecurity sector. A large majority of our businesses are B2B, so we encourage companies to learn from, collaborate with and share ideas with one another in order to get to market faster. We currently have approximately 210 companies comprising 1,200 individuals working out of Level39 every day.”
“In the morning, you could be having a meeting with the financial regulator. In the afternoon, you are having a meeting with lots of different start-ups and in the evening, you are meeting with academics. That is a typical day for an entrepreneur working out of Level39”
Why did you choose London as a location for Level39?
“There is no other city in my experience which offers the same concentration of talent, public sector support, academic strength and such a diverse array of technology companies and considering our ownership by the Canary Wharf Group, it was a natural choice for us to set up here. In the morning you could be having a meeting with the financial regulator. In the afternoon, you are having a meeting with different technology companies and in the evening, you are meeting with academics. In London, you can do that all within one day as the city has everyone in such close proximity.
London also has various attractive investment schemes for early stage businesses and investors to take advantage of. There is no shortage of high-quality accelerator programmes and incubators out there for entrepreneurs to be part of. There are also numerous global investors who are here in London looking to invest. Recent data shows how the UK continues to receive the greatest share of investment in fintech than any other European country. That is a testament to the high-quality entrepreneurs and innovations working in this city.
On top of that we have an incredibly supportive regulator – the Financial Conduct Authority – which encourages start-ups to flourish while ensuring consumers are protected. The FCA is considered by international regulators as one of the most progressive and supportive bodies approaching innovation. They are always very happy to work with and talk to emerging technology businesses in the finance sector.
The Financial Conduct Authority is considered by international regulators as one of the most progressive and supportive bodies approaching innovation. They are very happy to work with and talk to emerging technology businesses in the finance sector.
How do you see Level39's commitment to London and the UK going forward?
“All the data we've seen so far shows that if you are building a business here in London you've got much more to look forward to and lots of reasons to stay confident in building a business here. Speaking to entrepreneurs every day at Level39, they are all very bullish about London and the city’s position as a leading, global technology hub.
We were launched by, and are owned by the Canary Wharf Group. They are now working on Wood Wharf, a new expansion of the Canary Wharf estate, expanding its size by a third. Level39 continues to increase its membership and bring on new companies. Canary Wharf Group continues to increase its ambitions in real-estate and technology. Since Level39’s initial launch in 2013, Canary Wharf Group continues to create the best environment for scaling, technology companies to grow their businesses. That’s here in Canary Wharf and here in London."