When we think about London’s start-up eco-system Level 39 is quite possibly one of the first names that comes to mind, somewhere after “Tech City”, perhaps, and certainly right there in the mixer with “Silicon Roundabout”, WeWork, The Bakery, Central Working, Google Campus, Techstars /Barclays London, and so on.
Synonymous with the emergence and supercharged growth of FinTech, the darling of London’s tech scene and a sector in which the UK’s Capital city can claim to be a world leader and a global hub, Level 39 has rarely stayed out of the headlines since it was first launched in March 2013.
But perhaps what gives Level 39 something of a cutting edge and more of an international reach or appeal than some its “rivals” is its location.
Right in the heart of Canary Wharf, owned by the Canary Wharf Group, no less, since launch Level 39 has grown into an 80,000 square foot space occupying 3 floors of the One Canada Square skyscraper – the big one with the pyramid top if you’re not sure – the 39th, 24th, and 42nd (yes, 42nd!) floors of the building.
With stunning views of the Wharf and most of the rest of London and the home counties, even, it’s an enviable place from which to plot world domination or a truly disruptive, game-changing new piece of tech or way of thinking about a problem that needs solving.
And of course the fact that occupants are just minutes or even a short lift ride away from key financial decision makers makes the accelerator a hugely desirable place to be for FinTech, InsurTech, Cyber or even IoT start-ups – which explains why Accenture, UBS, Intel, D’assaultSystems and others host their accelerator programs here.
Since Level39 opened its doors its website says it has accepted more than 100,000 visitors and hosted 1,200 events, taking advantage of its ClubLounge 39 facility, which opens for lunch and breakfast and comes equipped with a fully serviced meeting room – and is reputed to be Canary Wharf’s highest restaurant.
Nothing but the best then, for the accelerator’s 130 members, who range in size from just 4 staff to more than 40 and include start-ups of all shapes and sizes, including Givvit, a “Social Treating” platform, social trading platform eToro, online M&A platform Dealglobe, frictionless checkout platform Bluesnap, venture capital backed (to the tune of $150m) remittance firm World Remit, personal money cloud Revolut (who recently raised £14m in a round led by Balderton), frictionless password solution PixelPin, and countless others.
Of course, simply joining Level 39 and moving your team in is no guarantee of instant success, but the febrile atmosphere and work culture at the accelerator are clearly conducive to success.
Ben Brabyn is the current Head of Level 39, Adam Luk is Head of Finance, Asif Faroque Head of Content, and 6 other staff keep everything under control.
Level 39 also partners with the likes of Mass Challenge, the not for profit incubator situated not far away in Shadwell, Hong Kong based start-up incubator Nest, Global Startup Exchanges, and Incubator programs in New York, Paris, Chicago, Manchester and Toronto.
Mentors are many and varied, and include venture capitalists, PR experts, angel investors, strategists, FinTech evangelists and many, many personalities whose day jobs would be demanding enough for most people, but whose passion for progress and disruption drives them to demand more of themselves and the people around them in the pursuit of the next big thing.
There are 6 different types of membership; Pantry, which allows members to come in 5 times per week and work from the shared “Pantry” space, Hot Desk, Fixed Desk, Internal and External office space, High Growth Space and Hub Desk membership.
Doubtless the expectation would be that prices are prohibitive for bootstrapping start-ups but in fact that is not the case – prices start from £325 per month for hot-desking or Hub-desk membership, and include numerous perks, such as a listing on the website, access to the level 39 network, a lanline phone and members Wi-Fi.
Fixed desk starts at £525 pcm, whilst for Pantry membership an annual membership fee of £1,500 is required. Office space starts at £2,600 pcm + VAT.
Level 39 recently published a #THREEYEARSON report covering their journey thus far – there have been thrills and spills galore, and plenty of success and progress – doubtless the team and everyone who occupies the space will be hoping the next 3 years continue in a similar vein.