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NBCC Event Review: Building a Culture of Innovation



With his background in setting up Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) in 2010 and initiating Level 39 in 2013, Eric van der Kleij, Managing Director of Level 39, provided NBCC Premier Members with insights into the fundamental role Level 39 plays as a technology accelerator for FinTech companies at Canary Wharf by offering a mutual platform for growth and innovation.

In the boardroom of London & Partners, looking out over the stunning skyline of London, Eric Van der Kleij described his journey from helping setting up businesses in the UK to becoming the MD of the major technology accelerator Level 39. The premier members who attended were told that by ‘being bold’, ‘daring to be disruptive’ and by ‘reaching high’ how they could drive innovation in any industry. Although Canary Wharf, where Level39 is based, is not the first place you would think of with regard to technology, it is currently attracting major tech companies such as IBM to gain access to small start-ups. The Netherlands has the potential to become a FinTech; a hub has recently opened in Amsterdam.

The round table setup led to a stimulating question and answer session with questions ranging from how these start-up companies were selected, the free market versus regulations, to how the finance model would work and the type of companies (one-third ex bankers, one-third international and one-third being a combination between business and tech talents). Further interesting debate was had about what is driving the industry; business or technology. According to Eric, it is twofold with entrepreneurs from the financial industry creating solutions, disruptive entrepreneurs pioneering in development regions such as Africa and the so called ‘improvers’ who are mainly interested in social improvements. During the networking drinks afterwards the discussions continued around driving innovations in the different industries.

Premier Members and prospect Premier Members in attendance on the 12th of May included representatives from: ABN AMRO, BAM Nuttall, Birkett, Exact Software, HEMA, Howard Kennedy, ING Bank, Interxion, Lloyds Banking, London City Airport, MHLLP, Novagraaf and Rabobank International

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