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Inside the workspace for start-ups with their heads in the clouds: Photos

A new workspace on the 39th floor of Canary Wharf is extending London's Tech City out to Docklands, and aims to bring together smart start-ups and potential customers.
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1 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

A new workspace for fast-growing tech start-ups aims to encourage connections between entrepreneurs and potential customers and mentors in the financial services sector.

Level39 - as the name suggests - takes up the entire 39th floor of Canary Wharf's iconic One Canada Square (above).

At 29,000 square feet, Level39 is Europe's largest accelerator space for tech businesses targeting financial services, retail and future city technologies, according to the building's owner, Canary Wharf Group.

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2 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

The workspace's location in the heart of Canary Wharf puts it very close to financial institutions and aims to create more "happy collisions" between entrepreneurs and potential customers in the form of banks.

Or as Eric van der Kleij, head of Level39 and previously chief executive of the Tech City Investment Organisation, put it: "Think of Shoreditch for start-ups and here for growth."

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3 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

The workspace includes a 200-seat event space, set of meeting rooms (dubbed 'sandboxes') plus a drop-in space, with 'hot' and fixed desks available for hire, plus an open plan kitchen with an iPad-powered coffee machine, seen above.

Over the last 12 weeks the space has been tested out by seven businesses taking part in the Accenture Fintech Innovation lab.

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4 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

van der Kleij said: "The challenges that Shoreditch and central London have around power and connectivity are not a problem here because it's a well planned city."

He added: "We're not trying to copy anywhere else. We consider ourselves to be very complementary to Tech City we consider ourselves very much part of that." With 7,000 tech workers at Canary Wharf, "that already makes it a pretty dense cluster," according to van der Kleij.

Pictured above is the 'business club lounge' of Level39.

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5 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

Darren Armitage, head of technology innovation at HSBC, said: "Large organisations sometimes have a blind spot around small companies and having them on the doorstep makes it easier to get them into meetings with executives."

Above is one of the meeting rooms with views over Canary Wharf - and the obligatory sweets to refuel entrepreneurs during those long brainstorming sessions.

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6 of 6 Steve Ranger/ZDNet

Alastair Paterson, chief executive of Digital Shadows, an online monitoring service for confidentiality and compliance which has been in Level39 since January - and whose previous offices were above the meat market in Farringdon - described the facility as "a one of a kind".

Each of the meeting rooms has some artwork on the walls - this one features an image of Steve Jobs.

Images: Steve Ranger/ZDNet

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