Cognicity Challenge: Canary Wharf Group’s £300,000 smart city startup fund

Oliver Smith
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Eric Van der Kleij runs Canary Wharf’s fintech accelerator Level39
Canary Wharf Group yesterday launched a startup accelerator programme to find six so-called smart city technologies – that drive cost savings using technology in fields such as transport and construction – to be piloted across its estate.

The Cognicity Challenge will be spread over six sectors: integrated transportation, connected home, virtual design, construction, integrated resource management, and auto­mated building management. The first two sectors (transport and construction) are now open for applications.

Following a selection process, six startup finalists will compete in each sector for a £50,000 prize and the opportunity to pilot their tech in Canary Wharf and the new development at nearby Wood Wharf.

“The launch of this ambitious series of international competitions is an im­portant milestone in delivering our future vision for Canary Wharf as one of the world’s most technologically advanced and innovative destinations,” said Canary Wharf Group chairman and chief executive Sir George Iacobescu.

Backed by Level39, Canary Wharf Group’s financial tech accelerator community – run by Eric Van der Kleij – the finalists will receive workspace, specialist mentoring and training over 12 weeks to develop their technologies.

The minister for culture and the digital economy, Ed Vaizey, said the programme would “help talented tech companies to develop revolutionary new solutions to the challenges facing modern cities, from creating sustainable buildings to building homes that are more digitally connected”.

The minister added: “It looks to provide these companies with an enormous city-scale testing ground here in the UK in which to pilot their ideas – ensuring they can develop the best possible solutions to these challenges and grow their business.”

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