Brexit is pushing UK firms overseas. One in four start-ups is looking into establishing a EU outpost, up from one in five last year, while fintech businesses in particular are aiming to expand to the continent to facilitate passporting, according to a survey conducted by Silicon Valley Bank.
“Brexit is complicating hiring,” says the founder of a London-based software company. “We are a global firm with a global team – we need them to be able to travel and relocate easily.”
And while Brexit complicates hiring, a lack of local talent is a linked, longer-term issue. “Innovative start-ups already face huge barriers – the ability to hire great talent should not be one of those,” say the CFO of a London software outfit. “Companies should be able to hire from anywhere in the world with as little friction as possible.”
There are also concerns about a potential funding gap should the European Investment Bank withdraw capital from the UK. One fintech company CEO calls for the government to replace EIB capital with funding “to maintain the UK's leading position”.
However, with access to capital getting easier, hiring forecasts remain upbeat – eight in 10 start-ups say they plan to expand their workforces during the course of this year.