Advice for Entrepreneurs after Brexit

Frank Meehan
Jun 24, 2016 · 2 min read

After Brexit, a lot of entrepreneurs will be concerned/interested about what to do next, and how to deal with the fallout. I’ve been worried about Brexit for a while, and I’ve taken steps at SmartUp to forward plan for it. I’ve quickly written down some things to consider going forward:

  1. Don’t panic. Wait and see what happens to the pound, which may recover quicker than you think. If it doesn’t, then look at setting up a US subsidiary or Dubai/Singapore based subsidiary if you can, and look at getting revenues paid in USD into those companies if you can afford to keep those revenues off shore.
  2. Talent will still come to London. If the UK moves to an Australian based points system, then it will be easier to get people from all over the world into London, the government will hopefully compensate for the loss of talent from the EU with a points/visa based system that means you can hire from US, Asia etc. However the problem with these systems is that you are reliant on government approval, rather than a simple right to work, so see next point as well…
  3. If you are a UK based company and want to keep hiring talent from within the EU without having to apply for Visas, then start thinking about having part/all of your tech overseas. Eastern Europe, particularly Romania/Hungary, makes a ton of sense, because it will be easy to recruit from within the EU and those countries will want to stay in the EU for a very long time. Plus the high degree of technical talent, good language skills and experience there makes good sense anyway. Set up a subsidiary in another country in the EU — I recommend Eastern Europe, and start building a new team out there. Keep in mind that Netherlands and Sweden will likely to try to exit EU next.
  4. Really focus on revenues from overseas — particularly Asia and US. Revenues in USD that can be kept overseas will become important. I think smart UK based startups will be focusing more on getting substantial customers overseas, with revenues in USD, and also keeping most operations overseas. Costs of tech talent in the UK will possibly increase, as the great lower cost talent from the EU potentially leaves, so having more business overseas will be important.
  5. Impact on investment. It is too early to tell yet, but Asia/US based investors which recently have been putting money into the UK, may retreat. This may mean that startups will have less options for cash, and will increasingly have to rely on UK funds, which may have an impact on startup funding. Watch the foreign investment market closely.

That’s just a few tips, I’m sure people can think of others, and if you do please add them to the comments below.

Frank Meehan

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Co-founder Partner SparkLabsGlobal early Stage fund, and SparkLabs Accelerator. Fmr BoD Spotify, Siri, Summly