23 Jun 2016

Keep Calm and Code On

Let’s face it: Brexit was not the result we wanted. And while there is much still to be worked out — like how long the divorce will take, what rules will govern cross-border trade and immigration, how long the markets will take to settle down, and whether other countries may follow — what is certain is that the British people have spoken, and the British government will carry out the will of the people.

For UK tech, now is not the time to make rash decisions or pack our bags. We have companies to build and customers to serve, regardless of the situation. For European entrepreneurs and investors, that situation is still the best it’s ever been.

Tech in Europe has been on fire with 41 billion-dollar companies founded here since the turn of the century, a quarter of which have come from the UK. And the macro environment remains unchanged: there’s an undeniable growing global market opportunity as more industries move online. There are ever-increasing ambition levels in Europe. We have a talent pool of 1.6m developers across the continent.

And the UK’s pipeline is getting stronger and stronger — in the past year alone, over 320 UK start-ups raised a seed round and over 80 raised a Series A.

So, despite Brexit, we believe that great companies will continue to be founded and significant capital will continue to flow throughout Europe and to the UK. Entrepreneurs are resilient.

We’ve seen this over and over again. Microsoft and FedEx started out in the 1973–1975 oil crisis and US recession. Skype was founded in 2002, during what was still the dot com nuclear winter. Airbnb, Spotify and Uber were born during the 2008–2009 financial crisis.

This, if it turns out to be a crisis, will be no different.

While the decision to leave has been made, the practicalities remain up for grabs. We believe collectively the European tech industry still has an important role to play in shaping this outcome.

The first place we in the tech industry can start is by coming together around a core set of principles we want British and European governments to adopt -principles that will help keep European tech on the upward trend it’s been on for the past 5 years.

Those first principles, as we see them, must include the following:

· The UK must continue to allow talent to enter the market, in the interests of everyone trying to build a company here

· UK businesses must be able to access the European Digital Single Market without extra regulatory burden

· Europeans who have started companies in the UK must be allowed to maintain and grow their operations

· Current data transfers between the UK and Europe must remain open

· Ensure that we commit to maintain (or even increase) our investment into science and tech R&D in the UK (in the absence of EU funds)

· Ensure that we do not make it harder and costlier for tech companies to protect intellectual property rights outside of the UK

We’d love to hear more ideas from our colleagues around the European and UK tech ecosystem.

Let’s make our voice heard, and let’s keep calm and code on!

The Atomico Team

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