Level39 & ENTIQ Working on Fintech, Smart Cities & the Cognicity Challenge
W e met with Eric Van der Kleij, CEO of Level39, and Mikele Brack, Senior Executive at ENTIQ and project sponsor for the Cognicity Challenge, to discuss two of the most innovative sectors in tech right now; fintech and smart cities.

We met with Eric Van der Kleij, CEO of Level39, and Mikele Brack, Senior Executive at ENTIQ and project sponsor for the Cognicity Challenge, to discuss two of the most innovative sectors in tech right now: fintech and smart cities.

FINTECH

Eric Van der Kleij explained that Level39 is a technology accelerator launched by Canary Wharf Group in 2013 to diversify its tenant base, attracting technology companies from the fintech, retail tech, cyber security and future city sectors. In just two years Level39 has grown to become Europe's leading fintech accelerator, and now boasts 168 member companies spread across three floors of the iconic One Canada Square.

Eric summarised Level39's membership structure, explaining that startup memberships range from drop-in through to hot-desk, fixed desk and complete corporate offices for growing startup teams. Level39's innovative community also attracts high-growth scale-ups and larger technology companies, such as the global e-invoicing platform TradeShift, leading social trading platform eToro and IBM's Bluemix Garage, a collaborative development platform for cloud computing technologies.

Level39 also hosts hundreds of world-class events each year, which collectively attract tens of thousands entrepreneurs, technologists and business executives. Recent events have included Wired Retail, Next Bank Europe, The World Economic Forum's WEF:Workshop, The PayPal Battlehack, IBM SmartCamp and the Open Bank Project's Hack [Make!] The Bank hackathon.

SMART CITIES

Canary Wharf Group's Cognicity initiative will cement Level39's position as a leading hub for high-growth companies in the smart cities sector, while also shaping the future development of the wider Canary Wharf estate.

Mikele Brack is leading the delivery of the Cognicity Challenge, a series of six smart city accelerators designed and delivered by ENTIQ on behalf of Canary Wharf Group.

Mikele explained that the Challenge will identify and accelerate innovative smart city companies by providing technological expertise and the opportunity to develop and deploy their solutions in the ongoing development of Canary Wharf, translating smart cities thinking into real-world practice. The Cognicity Challenge also has an ambitious goal of delivering true interoperability – the aim is that the technologies developed and piloted during the six separate accelerator streams will be able to communicate, exchange data and work together seamlessly and efficiently.

The accelerator streams focus on six themes that are all important elements of a smart city development:

  • Sustainable buildings
  • Integrated transportation
  • Integrated resource management
  • Automated building management
  • Connected homes
  • Virtual design and construction

The winning innovator in each accelerator stream will win a £50,000 cash prize and the opportunity to pilot their technology on the Canary Wharf estate.

Two streams of the Cognicity Challenge are still open to applications: Connected Home and Virtual Design & Construction.

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