Brexit: The UK tech scene responds

Joe Svetlik

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Brexit could have many effects on UK tech companies, including less access to employees from across Europe and less funding following decreased confidence from investors. Here are some of the repercussions those working in the sector foresee.

Ted Nash, CEO and co-founder, Tapdaq

“Our HQ is in London, meaning many of our overseas employees could struggle to visit as often as they do now, depending on what is negotiated. With the impending introduction of Brexit, our team structure and geographical make-up could be disturbed.”

Rachel Carrell, CEO, Koru Kids

“Brexit makes a recession more likely, and this time London will feel it as much as the rest of the country. It’ll be harder to get investment, especially in the later stages of financing, the Series A and Series B. One thing the government will have to prioritise is visa support for tech talent. If they don’t do that, the London tech scene is really going to suffer.”

Stuart Veale, founding partner, Beringea

“Despite the uncertainty, there is still a massive amount of capital looking for a home in London, so good businesses will continue to receive funding. If there is a recession, it will actually be a good time to be investing – valuations are likely to fall, making it even more attractive for venture capitalists to invest in tech businesses. But the government must reassure individuals and companies about which system they will use to allow new migrants into the UK. This is crucial, especially for the tech community which relies on lots of European talent.”

Alex Macpherson, head of ventures, Octopus Ventures

“It’s vital that we ensure high-growth early-stage businesses in the UK can continue to attract – and have access to – the best talent from Europe and overseas. That way, we can all benefit from the huge contribution these businesses make to the UK through the thousands of jobs they create and their positive impact on economic growth.”

Daniel van Binsbergen, CEO and co-founder, Lexoo

“About half of our employees are non-UK nationals. If the UK wasn’t part of the EU, we wouldn’t have been able to hire other EU nationals without going through the expensive visa-sponsoring process. Access to top talent is what makes or breaks startups. We sincerely hope Brexit doesn’t make it harder to hire talent. If it does become harder, we might open a second office in an EU country (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands or Portugal) and hire developers there. It might also be harder to raise funds in the future.”

Hugo Burge, CEO, Momondo Group

“The Brexit vote revealed a fragmented British society with a significant portion of the population disenfranchised, having not experienced the benefits of globalisation or digitalisation. Now there’s an opportunity to bring people together to build a strong digital and wider economy that can thrive without relying on EU subsidies. We can create opportunities for all by listening to their needs, supporting the development of relevant digital skills, enhancing digital connectivity and increasing investment in our digital and global future.”

James Johnson, Group CEO, Nicoll Curtin

“Brexit will just accelerate the focus on technological solutions to problems. Technology crosses borders easier than people! This will increase tech hiring.”

A lot is still unknown about what effects Brexit will have on businesses. As these quotes show, the overriding concern of tech companies is that they’ll still have access to the best talent from across Europe. That’s the only way London and the UK will remain powerhouses of both the European and global tech scenes.

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