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Forget the Brexit paralysis

Written by Alice Bentinck on Saturday, 15 October 2016. Posted in Insight, Analysis

Despite a jittery summer after the EU referendum, the appetite for startup investment in the UK remains huge

Forget the Brexit paralysis

It is still impossible to comment on the UK startup scene without mentioning Brexit. However, after a summer of stunned disbelief amongst business leaders and Remain advocates, the start of autumn represents a new leaf in more ways than one. There is no need for pessimism in the UK startup scene and here's why.

Socioeconomic volatility is the norm

With the Brexit vote we've entered a period of uncertainty. However, let's not forget that companies constantly have to deal with socioeconomic volatility and that well-structured, agile businesses are able to weather these storms. In the last 16 years alone, we've experienced the dotcom bubble, numerous wars and the 2007 global financial crisis. In comparison, the Brexit vote is seismic – but manageable.
For some, a crisis can even turn into an opportunity. Take the fintech sector: with financial organisations entering a period of big change, innovative startups have the opportunity to move in and take their place. Entrepreneurs are by nature optimistic, quick acting and able to adapt to changing landscapes. Those that are willing enough succeed.

London is a strong startup capital

Some people in the industry seem worried there will be a mass exodus of innovative startups to other European hubs. However, they forget a number of things: the UK benefits from being a large English-speaking market full of early adopters with strong links to Asia and the US, especially Silicon Valley. It has first-class technical universities whose graduates flock to London to be part of a well-connected and supportive network of industry professionals, mentors, VCs and fellow entrepreneurs. London's Tech City offers fantastic facilities for entrepreneurs who need help with any stage of their business – be it in terms of training, mentoring or money.

Investors are still keen to discover the next big thing

The UK tech sector has seen £7.5bn in investment since 2010 and in the first six months of 2016 alone London raised £1.9bn. Unsurprisingly, there has been a wobble over the summer following the referendum but that is only natural. Business and consumer confidence is up and investors are opening their cheque books again for ventures that show growth potential. News of a number of recent multi-million pound funding announcements for UK businesses such as Revolut, MarketInvoice and WeSwap is also a sign that investor thirst for startups with great potential remains strong.

There is no denying that there's change afoot in the UK startup scene and the landscape is likely to evolve. The world of business is always challenging and it's never easy. However, you have to see opportunities in those challenges and adapt. In the end, one thing is certain: startups with the right product, people, attitude and growth plans will still attract investment and succeed.

About the Author

Alice Bentinck

Alice Bentinck

To describe Bentinck as well-versed in tech would be something of an understatement. She co-founded both Entrepreneur First, the pre-seed investment programme for Europe's best technical founders, and Code First: Girls, the provider of free coding courses for young women. She has also been a judge for TechCrunch Disrupt, acts as an advisor for Sherry Coutu’s Founders4Schools and was one of five innovation advisors to the prime minister at the Northern Future Forum 2014.

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