UK Tech Industry Wakes Up to Brexit

The UK has voted to leave the European Union by a four-point margin.

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Panic swept over the financial markets as the UK voted to leave the European Union on Thursday. The country’s tech industry, still trying to process the news, has begun to weigh in on one of the most dramatic changes to the British economy in decades.

Long story short, things aren’t looking good.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are both expected to open down 5 percent, according to CNBC. Britain’s local financial markets plunged at the news, with the pound reaching a 31-year low.

Mark Mulligan, managing director at MIDiA Research, said on LinkedIn that the vote “ushers in a period of the unknown.” Administrative costs for businesses looking to trade with Europe will likely rise, and smaller firms may not survive the transition as easily as larger firms.

The effects were felt across the ocean, too. At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in San Francisco, attendees were stunned by the result, where 52 percent voted to leave.

“It’s bad for business. As an entrepreneur, I’m concerned. I actually moved my business to London on Monday. It puts that future in doubt,” Michael O’Dwyer, an Irish tech entrepeneur, told ABC7.

Tech City UK, a cluster of tech startups in the east end of London, accepted the uncertainty surrounding the decision. “The UK remains a world-class country with world-class resources and assets; people, finance, legal framework and a supportive government,” Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, told the Hackney Gazette. “Nobody knows how this dramatic decision will eventually play out.”

“There is a lot of uncertainty around but one thing for sure is that this is bad news for the tech industry,” Husayn Kassai, CEO of Onfido, told Business Insider. “Gone are our hopes for a digital single market, there will now be question marks over London being a powerhouse for finance and technology, and it is likely to make it harder to attract top calibre tech talent to the UK. Now the tech industry and the UK needs to understand the cards we’ve been dealt and work out how best to move forward.”

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