The UK's tech entrepreneurs have finally recovered from the Brexit shock

Lynsey Barber
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Britain Reacts To The EU Referendum Result
Those working in tech are now looking more on the bright side (Source: Getty)
t looks like the UK's tech entrepreneurs have finally recovered from the shock result of the referendum in which they overwhelmingly supported remaining in the European Union.

Just under half (49 per cent) of the more than 2,000 people working in tech and digital, including founders and chief executives, surveyed by Tech City UK are positive about business for the year ahead, compared to just eight per cent polled in June after the vote.

Positivity for the year ahead improved in the capital, with 35 per cent now expecting things to improve compared to just six per cent in June, though the bounce back was less pronounced than that experienced nationwide.

Read more: The tech revolution – not Brexit – will reshape the face of London

Tech City UK chief executive Gerard Grech said the results "reflect the resilience and underlying strength of our digital sector, which continues to grow and create jobs at a far faster rate than the wider economy".

The tech sector has had a strong run since the Brexit vote with multiple mega-deals securing its status, including Softbank's multi-billion pound deal for UK chipmaker ARM and travel startup Skyscanner being snapped for £1.4bn.

It comes as new data reveals that 2016 was a record year for tech deals in the UK with more than 4,000 M&A deals and private placements signalling a rise of more than 40 per cent on the previous year.

The data from GP Bullhound also indicated a decline in deal numbers in the second half of the year after a stellar start to 2016. The figures were still up year-on-year, however.

"The year just past was one of shocks and surprises but the economy overall has held up remarkably well. For the tech sector, however, the power to transform lives has not disappeared because the country voted to leave Europe," said BGF Ventures partner Simon Calver.

Balderton Capital partner Suranga Chandratillake added that there was still uncertainty and challenges remained. In particular, around hiring skilled people, "there comes a point where you have to embrace the uncertainty and look for opportunities in the turbulence," he said.

"If businesses are under pressure they will be keen to cut costs and streamline operations, to find new ways of doing things more efficiently. This is exactly what the most successful tech businesses are great at doing," he said.

Read more: Another British tech firm has been bought by a foreign company

Meanwhile, startups are now choosing to look on the bright side of the country's decision and find opportunities.

"We know there's a lot of uncertainty, but we're also confident that we can act faster than larger companies if things do change, so see uncertainty and change as an opportunity to grow, rather than something to be afraid of," said Aron Gelbard, founder of the flower delivery firm Bloom & Wild.

Fintech startup GoCardless's head of legal Ahmed Badr said: "We're hiring for lots of positions right now and are not seeing any decline in interest in working here."

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