In 2013, Level39 was launched by the Canary Wharf Group to lead the charge in balancing the centre’s technology and financial sectors.
It was given the task to attract up-and-coming technology firms to its office space in One Canada Square, providing them the facilities and the connections with which to further their growth.
And now three years later, with ex-marine Ben Brabyn at the helm as of February, the tech accelerator boasts 213 member companies that employ 756 people.
During a short break in the luxurious ClubLounge39, the new head spoke of the rapid rise of Level39 and the effect that it has had on the genetic makeup of Canary Wharf.
“I’ve been here for just over two months and it’s been a fantastic opportunity to work with a whole range of different people,” he said.
“Three years ago Level39 was created as part of the diversification plan from the Canary Wharf Group and it has been fantastically successful.
“In our neighbourhood we have some of the most active, sophisticated, well resourced and global customers that any small business could hope to work with.”
As well as providing office space, security and a stable internet connection, Level39 also gives their members the ability and the means to network with other companies.
One particular success story is one of its first clients, Digital Shadows.
The cyber security firm began at One Canada Square with just six employees. It now has 85.
And those kind of success stories are helping to tilt the balance at Canary Wharf towards a more technology-based business environment capitalising on the growth of FinTech.
With heavyweights like Barclays, HSBC and CitiBank, as many as 80% of people at Canary Wharf worked in the financial services industry at one time.
That proportion is now just above half, according to Ben.
He said: “It’s going to become harder and harder to apply traditional boundaries. 56% of people working in Canary Wharf work in financial service businesses.
“But if you scratch through the surface you find that about a third are in technical disciplines. It’s already a very technical and sophisticated environment.”
Having worked at JP Morgan in London, New York and the Middle East before co-founding his own social e-commerce business, Ben is all too aware of the interdependence of the financial and technology sectors.
“London is one of the world’s leading financial centres and a large part of that is driven by innovation and that depends on robust technology,” he said.
Looking to the future, Level39 is hoping to expand its operations and build partnerships overseas in China, Hong Kong and America.
Ben said: “The three-year report sums up the fantastic achievements of the last three years and I’ve been privileged to turn up just in time to celebrate the third birthday and what we are doing now is consolidating the lessons learned over those three years and scaling up substantially.
“It’s a great foundation. I feel very privileged to be here at this stage and I’m very much looking forward to our fourth, fifth and sixth year report, which will show a continuing curve upwards and upwards.”