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UK Tech Pioneer Eric Van der Kleij launches Fourth Industrial Revolution Centre

Centre for Digital Revolution (C4DR) will research and build Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions for society and business, through co-investing with established corporates to create new businesses and direct investment in artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things, and robotics-focused startups

LONDON – 00:01, 24 MAY 2017: UK tech pioneer, Eric Van der Kleij, returns to the forefront of London’s technology scene today with his next venture, the launch of C4DR; a multi-city business development hub comprising a built-in international corporate foundry, a series of startup challenge programmes targeting key industry verticals, and an in-house 4IR think tank.

C4DR will partner and co-invest with leading corporate organisations looking to build new enterprises using 4IR technologies, and invest in promising startups spanning artificial intelligence, internet of things, blockchain and robotics, all within a specialised environment. The Centre will work with high-potential startups based in the hubs to help them win business both within and beyond the C4DR ecosystem, while simultaneously delivering sustainable benefit to both business and society.

“Our ambition is to help answer the critical question of how we adapt and crucially thrive, when faced with potential disruption and uncertainty created by the rapid pace of innovation, while still creating an environment for bold, forward-thinking startups and corporate titans alike that can effectively harness the technologies driving this fourth industrial revolution”, said Eric Van der Kleij, Founder and CEO of C4DR.

“At the heart of each of our international hubs will be a wealth of proven go-to-market expertise that leverages the strengths of our industry partners and each location, to create a talent-rich ecosystem and network that aids the development and positive application of 4IR technologies that are already permeating our professional and personal lives”.

Underpinning the C4DR’s hub network is an enhanced real estate growth and regeneration model, interlaced with rich event content and ongoing vertical-specific activities. With these elements, C4DR can create a more engaged and loyal tenant base than those found in traditional co-working environments.

The Centre’s think tank team will set challenges and invest in ideas around some of the most difficult questions posed by the 4IR, such as technology-led employment displacement and re-education. C4DR will work with corporates, leading industry advocates and the innovation community to challenge, experiment and build solutions as well as share insights with those governments, policy-making bodies, and societal groups that are exploring how strategy, logistics and workforce skillsets should adapt to meet new needs, both domestically and internationally.

Coinciding with the launch of the first hub, C4DR also confirmed its first Corporate Foundry partner as Switzerland’s leading telecom provider: Swisscom is partnering with C4DR on the creation of a pioneering FinTech solution that will look to address the challenges of digital assets and using Blockchain technology.

Commenting on the partnership, Peter Hofmann, Senior Manager of Strategic Business Development at Swisscom said: “It’s great to have C4DR as our partner on this pioneering FinTech project. C4DR’s capabilities in Blockchain and their specialised venture environment are the ideal fit with Swisscom’s assets and expertise in this project.”

C4DR will be headquartered in London within a custom-built hub inside the Cocoon Networks Innovation Centre (70,000 sq. ft. in total) located at 4 Christopher Street, London EC2. Cocoon Networks is Europe’s first Chinese capital-backed international investment platform and startup ecosystem and through a partnership with C4DR will seek to help UK and Continental European companies successfully expand to China and vice versa.

“It is fantastic to have C4DR landing at Cocoon Networks London Innovation Centre; I believe it will further enhance the quality of our service to help start-ups propel their business”, said John Zai, Founder and CEO at Cocoon Networks.

C4DR will deploy a global network of hubs and affiliates across Europe, China, the US and other key regions, to meet global demand among high-potential companies and strategic partners that would benefit from its model.


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About Centre for Digital Revolution (C4DR)

C4DR is a corporate foundry, a startup challenge centre and a digital think tank committed to developing high potential businesses and valuable societal solutions that will positively drive the fourth industrial revolution across business and society.

Established by Eric Van der Kleij, former Head and CEO of the UK’s Level39 and Tech City initiatives, respectively, C4DR creates high-potential businesses that specialise in the application of artificial intelligence, internet of things, blockchain and robotics-related technologies across multiple verticals and geographies. Concurrently, C4DR will also help governments and society understand the policies, pace of adoption, and skillsets required to thrive in a rapidly transforming digital world.

About Eric van der Kleij

Eric Van der Kleij is a technology entrepreneur and Chairman of the Advisory Group and an Adviser on Fintech and Blockchain for the Department for International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme. Eric is also Special Adviser to the FinTech stream of the Zurich based Kickstart Accelerator, and a volunteer Advisory Board member of Tech London Advocates.

Prior to these roles, Eric created and led Level39, Europe’s largest space for Fintech & Smart Cities technology companies, which is based in Canary Wharf’s One Canada Square. Eric also helped create the strategy and was the first CEO of the UK Government’s Tech City Investment Organisation, where he was tasked by the former UK Prime Minister to boost technology investment, entrepreneurship and skills in the “Silicon Roundabout” area of East London. He is also co-founder of FinTech company Adeptra, sold to NYSE FICO.

About Cocoon Networks

Cocoon Networks is Europe’s first financial investment consultancy and networking platform specialising in cross-border technology transfer between China and the European continent. Cocoon Networks’ wide range of services includes financial consulting, co-working spaces and IP management. With its London-based headquarters and offices in four major cities in China, Cocoon Networks facilitates the creation of fruitful and enduring Sino-British business collaborations.

About Swisscom

Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecoms company and one of its leading IT companies, is headquartered in Ittigen, close to the capital city Berne. Swisscom’s international activities are concentrated mainly in Italy, where its subsidiary Fastweb is one of the biggest broadband providers. More than 21,000 employees generated sales of CHF 2.83 billion in the first quarter of 2017. Swisscom is one of the most sustainable companies in Switzerland and Europe.