This week saw the fall of one of the most promising startups to come out of a Kickstarter campaign and Theresa May facing an immigration policy backlash from London’s tech entrepreneurs
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London’s tech leaders reject Tory immigration plans
Even the most optimistic Conservative devotee would probably admit that Theresa May’s strategy to strengthen her hand in the election didn’t go exactly to plan. With the prime minister now facing the Brexit negotiations with a significantly weaker mandate, London’s entrepreneurs hope that the election results mean she won’t realise some of the immigration policies in the Tory manifesto.
Having surveyed 250 of its members, Tech London Advocates, the network championing London tech startups, has found that 74% of tech professionals in London believe the suggested policies would restrict the city’s access to talent. Additionally, over half of tech professionals believe current immigration rules need to change, as they feel that the regulations don’t permit enough world-class talent to enter the UK.
“Access to global talent is a top priority for tech companies and these results confirm that firms want a government that can establish an immigration and visa policy to meet this pressing need,” said Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates.
If the prime minister wants the support of the startups driving the tech sector, she may have to reconsider her policies.
Hello collapses after failing to raise additional funds
When Hello successfully raised $2.4m on Kickstarter back in 2014, the sleep-tracking startup was hailed as one of the crowdfunding platform’s great success stories. And it seemed as if the company was destined to achieve great things when it went on to raise $40.51m from VCs in 2015. However, the company has now announced that it will be shutting down.
Founded in 2012 by British-born entrepreneur James Proud, the company’s bedside sleep tracker Sense has faced increased competition from similar devices, as well as the rise of smart-home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home. “The past few months have been incredibly tough, especially on the team of Hello,” said Proud. “For that I’m incredibly sorry.”
Signifying the close of one of the most promising businesses to ever come out of a Kickstarter campaign, this all just goes to show nothing is ever certain in the startup sector.
Emmanuel Macron to give French startup scene a boost
France has made no secret of its intentions to become Europe’s next big startup nation. Not only has our neighbour to the south seen its investments from venture capital boom in the last few years but Paris has also pushed publicly to attract British entrepreneurs to jump across the English Channel. And now these efforts seem likely to gain even more momentum with the newly-elected president introducing a new entrepreneur visa.
Emmanuel Macron made the announcement speaking at the VivaTechnology conference in Paris, saying that the new visa would allow professionals to come and work in France for up to four years. Additionally, he hoped that the slashing of complex regulations and additional funding for startups would ensure France’s future as a “country of unicorns.” He concluded the speech saying that “entrepreneur is the new France.”
It certainly seems as if the competition to become Europe’s best startup nation is intensifying.
Marissa Mayer leaves Yahoo
With two cyber attacks devaluing Yahoo’s value by $350m in February, Verizon’s purchase of the tech giant has certainly had its fair share of twists and turns but, almost a year after it was first announced, the sale finally went through this week. And with the acquisition done and dusted, Marissa Mayer is finishing her tenure as president and CEO of Yahoo.
Having run the tech behemoth since 2012, Mayer resigned on Tuesday. “It’s been my great honour and privilege to be a part of this team for the last five years,” she wrote in a post on Tumblr. “Looking back on my time at Yahoo, we have confronted seemingly insurmountable business challenges along with many surprise twists and turns. I’ve seen our teams navigate these hurdles and mountains in ways that have not only made Yahoo a better company but also made all of us far stronger.”
Her ability to tackle these hurdles has seen Mayer leave with a $23m severance package. And given her proven professional acumen, we’re certain she’ll land on her feet.