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British tech startups are increasingly gloomy as Brexit approaches, and it’s already hurting their ability to hire talent – Business Insider Nordic

Anti-Brexit campaigners.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty
  • British tech founders have had a rough 12 months thanks
    to continuing confusion about Brexit.
  • Founders reported being able to attract less
    international talent over the last year.
  • UK founders are also more pessimistic about the future
    of tech than founders from other regions.
  • London is still number one for cash going to startups
    and the number of deals, but overseas founders may choose to
    stay put as the UK puts up barriers.

British tech startups continue to feel the effects of Brexit,
attracting less international talent over the past 12 months and
feeling greater pessimism.

According to a survey of 5,000 tech workers by VC firm Atomico,
most European startups outside the UK managed to attract more
overseas talent to their businesses, or maintain the same levels.
But UK founders saw a decrease.

The yellow bar on the chart below shows the percentage of UK
respondents seeing a decrease in international tech talent. Note
how the UK’s black bar is much bigger than other regions:

Atomico research showing talent relocating

Atomico/The State of European Tech Survey

Likewise, UK venture-backed startups saw a considerable increase
in talent choosing to move abroad. The green bar on the chart
below indicates the increase in talent leaving the country:


Atomico/State of European Tech Survey

It isn’t all bad news for the UK, and Brexit impacts remain
negligible. London is still Europe’s biggest tech city in terms
of capital raised and the number of startup deals, with Berlin
and Paris still some way behind. Oxford and Cambridge also
feature in Atomico’s list of top 20 hubs by capital raised and
number of deals.

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Read more:
How Brexit killed an entrepreneur’s vision to invest in British
tech talent

But, Atomico found, startup founders are feeling pretty
pessimistic. Here’s a chart showing that the UK is the least
optimistic region in Europe about tech:

Atomico chart 2018 UK optimism


Atomico partner Tom Wehmeier told Business Insider that the UK
has historically been highly dependent on foreign talent for

Quite apart from Brexit, he added, London was being challenged by
the fact that other cities, which have been poor at retaining
tech talent are now looking more attractive, thanks to capital
flowing throughout Europe, and stronger local tech communities.
Entrepreneurs, he said, are choosing to stay among their own
networks rather than head abroad.

“We’re going from a period where the opportunity within the tech
industry was historically concentrated geographically. The UK was
one of those places, there has been more opportunity than
anywhere else and it was a destination of choice,” he said. “That
opportunity, which was once geographically concentrated, is more
spread through the region.”

Brexit, he added, was a “compounding factor.”


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