Since the Brexit, I heard countless arguments about British startups moving to Berlin. I tend to think most of these arguments as clickbaits for the tech media to feed on, now with TechCrunch Disrupt London, these arguments resurfaced. Here is my opinion about why Brexit doesn’t matter for tech or even contrary to popular sentiment, it could be a good thing:
- It is not that simple. You can’t easily move a startup from a country to another because of something that didn’t happen. Up until now, the only direct result of Brexit is the devaluation of the pound which is not an enough motive for a startup to leave UK and come to Berlin. Not to mention the Euro itself is losing its value because of strong dollar and the other Euro zone problems.
- Tech in principle is global. Being in UK doesn’t have a big difference from being in Berlin. Unless you are doing something very specific to the German or British market, you don’t have to be there.
- Europe was fragmented, and will stay fragmented post Brexit. Each country has its own language, culture, and laws. Being in or out of EU doesn’t matter for the most part because the fragmentation is still there.
- British entrepreneurs still have access to EU. They can still move any way they want and open offices anywhere.
- The fact that UK speaks English gives it a huge advantage over Germany. Immigrant entrepreneurs can’t easily start a company in a country where they don’t speak the language, and have fears of falling victims to legalities they can’t even read.
- The big players doubled down on UK. Amazon is expanding and hiring like crazy. Facebook is adding 500 new tech jobs in London office. Google is opening its biggest space in Europe and adding thousands of jobs in London.
- Tech is the last industry affected by regulation, until UK finds out what Brexit means they will have a very long list of problems to solve before coming to what Brexit means for tech. Until then, everything stays the same.
- In fact, Brexit could be great for the tech scene in UK. Being out of EU will allow the UK to move fast and away from stupid European laws that are preventing many startups from being started here. Less decoupling means more agility, and more competition between EU states and non-EU states, which makes things better for everyone.