Eric van der Kleij is stepping down as head of London fintech hub Level39 after nearly 3 years in the job.
Level39 was set up by Canary Wharf Group to encourage financial technology, or fintech, startups to base themselves in Canary Wharf, offering companies support, services, and office space that could accommodate as little as 1 or 2 people.
van der Kleij helped grow Level39 to one of the biggest fintech hubs in Europe. In an emailed statement to Business Insider van der Kleij said: “I am so incredibly proud of what the team has achieved in the last three years.”
Level39 said in a statement on its website that van der Kleij has “exceeded expectations in activating and transforming Canary Wharf into a preeminent destination for high growth tech companies.”
van der Kleij, who was the founding chair of TechCityUK, is leaving to focus on ENTIQ, an innovation consultancy that he runs. The company looking at blockchain technology, the software that underpins bitcoin.
van der Kleij said in an email: “ENTIQ is the specialist innovation practise I founded with Claire Cockerton (founding CEO of Innovate Finance) and that is growing fast, delivering innovation programmes for major corporates as well as advising on ecosystem creation like Level39.
“As a company we invested in our own “ENTIQ Lab” — a technology lab based on Level39’s High Growth Space:24, and upskilled the team on the rapidly emerging field of distributed ledger, or blockchain.
“As my understanding of the true capability of the technology has grown, coupled with the strong interest from the industry I realised there has never been a better time to do a deep dive into this area, hence the move to seek a successor.”
Banks are extremely interested in harnessing blockchain technology and van der Kleij told Business Insider earlier this year: “The real powerful work being done in fintech is blockchain. I can tell you now with certainty that every major western bank we’ve spoken to, and some eastern ones, are looking at blockchain technology.”