Tech City UK Blog

This morning CityAM featured a letter signed by almost 50 tech entrepreneurs, many of whom are alumni or current members of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty programme. Founders and tech employees are worried that Brexit will hamper their ability to hire talented tech workers and will deter the brightest and best from wanting to come to join or set up businesses in the UK.

One of Tech City UK’s main roles is to reflect what the tech community thinks to Government so that together the sector and policy makers can find the best solution to the challenges the sector faces. This letter explains why the UK needs to remain an open economy and why tech companies must be able to continue to recruit skilled workers from around the world, even after the country leaves the EU. We are committed to conveying this message to the highest levels.


Dear Editor,


Britain’s digital industries are expanding at an extraordinary pace, creating jobs and contributing some £161 billion in turnover to the economy.


Companies like Just Eat, Shazam, Skyscanner, Mimecast and Zoopla have become household names in a relatively short time and are providing high-value jobs across the country in ways that could not have been predicted 10 years ago. No industry is escaping the impact of technology. Tech innovation has ushered in new energy providers, more efficient banking and investment companies; cheaper travel; accessible education and more.


From healthcare to investment broking tech cuts across virtually every part of our economy. Some 41% of the 1.56M digital tech economy jobs in the UK are now within traditional non-digital industries, such as education and financial services. Between 2010 and 2014 the gross value added of the digital sector grew by 27%, almost three times faster than the rest of economy.


The UK has become the number one spot in Europe for tech startups, with 40% of all European Tech unicorns ($1bn+ valued tech businesses) based here. The sector is creating jobs almost three times faster than the wider economy. But the sector’s fast rate of growth and the limited supply of specialist skills (at least in the short-term) means that hiring international talent is essential for growth.


If tech communities were no longer able to recruit workers from the 27 EU countries, or from other states, many businesses would see their growth slow down. Government measures in recent years to encourage founders and entrepreneurs to invest in the UK would be wasted.


In the regions, the tech sector is an important source of economic growth, with 52,000 employed in the sector in Manchester and 37,000 in Birmingham. Vibrant tech hubs exist in Newcastle, Sheffield, Bristol and Brighton. Britain is uniquely placed to dominate some of the fastest growing tech sectors – Fintech, EdTech, Gaming and Healthtech.


While efforts to build up Britain’s skills base are happening – coding in schools, apprenticeships, tech companies working more closely with universities – company founders must, in the meantime, compete in a global race for talent.


As members of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty tech programme, which helps some of the UK’s fastest-growing digital companies to scale up, we want to build businesses in an economy that is outward-looking and dynamic. With Brexit, must come great opportunities, but we must be careful to avoid potential pitfalls.


As tech company founders we want to work with Government to find solutions to the digital industries’ need for international talent. Only with a steady flow of international and home-grown talent, British tech can continue to compete on the world’s stage.


Respectfully yours,

  1. Theo Duchen, Co-CEO, Acturis
  2. Doug Monro, Co-Founder, Adzuna
  3. Stu Taylor, CEO & Co-Founder, Algomi
  4. Giles Palmer, CEO, Brandwatch
  5. Julien Hammerson, CEO, Calastone
  6. Tzachi Davidovich, CEO, Cardlife
  7. Darren Westlake, CEO, Crowdcube
  8. Jo Webber, Social Media Director, DanDan Digital
  9. Dan Warne, MD UK & IE, Deliveroo
  10. Paul Chrimes, MD – Operations, eToro UK
  11. Chris Wilkinson, Head of Talent, Forward Partners
  12. Andrew White, Founder & CEO, FundApps
  13. James Meekings, UK Managing Director and Co-Founder, Funding Circle
  14. Samir Desai, CEO and Co-Founder, Funding Circle
  15. Paul Sulyok, Founder and CEO, Green Man Gaming
  16. Andrew Pinnington, CEO, Hailo
  17. George Hadjigeorgiou, Former CEO , Housetrip
  18. Alastair Mitchell, President, CMO & Co-founder, Huddle
  19. James Dear, CTO and Co-Founder, iwoca
  20. Christoph Rieche, CEO, iwoca
  21. David Mercer, CEO, LMAX Exchange
  22. Asi Sharabi, CEO, Lost My Name
  23. Tal Oron, Founder, Lost My Name
  24. Robbie Hughes, Founder & CEO Lumeon Ltd
  25. Mark Beilby, Chairman, Lumi
  26. Richard Taylor, CEO, Lumi
  27. Chris Morton, Founder and CEO, Lyst
  28. Ning Li, Founder and CEO,
  29. Andrew Bucher, Co-Founder & Veterinary Director, MedicAnimal
  30. Ivan Retzignac, Founder and CEO, MedicAnimal
  31. Peter Bauer, CEO, Mimecast
  32. Michael Acton-Smith, Chairman, Mind Candy
  33. Ian Shaw, CEO, MWR Info Security
  34. Kevin Cornils, CEO, My Optique
  35. Andrew Taylor, Group CEO, Nomad Digital
  36. Demetrios Zoppos, Co-founder, OneFineStay
  37. Graham Cooke, CEO & Co-founder, Qubit
  38. Rhydian Lewis, CEO & Co-founder, RateSetter
  39. James Booth, CEO & Co-founder, Scoota
  40. Torie Chilcott, Co-founder, Scoota
  41. Tom Valentine, Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder, Secret Escapes
  42. Andrew Fisher, Executive Chairman, Shazam
  43. Alicia Navarro, Co-Founder and CEO of Skimlinks
  44. Nick Day, CEO, Small World F.S.
  45. John Earner, CEO & Founder, Space Ape Games
  46. Thibault Hanin, Co-Founder & CTO, Synthesio
  47. Aldo Monteforte, CEO, The Floow
  48. Sarah Wood, Founder, Unruly
  49. Oliver Smith, Managing Director, EMEA, Unruly
  50. Ross Williams, Founder and Chairman, Venntro Media Group Limited
  51. Joe Murray, Co-CEO, Worldstores
  52. Jay Radia, CEO, Yieldify
  53. Meelan Radia, Co-founder, Yieldify
  54. Alex Chesterman OBE, Founder & CEO, Zoopla Property Group Plc
  55. Giles Andrews, Chair and Co-founder, Zopa

If you wish to sign this letter, please email [email protected] with your name and company.