A group of leading investors behind hundreds of British success stories - including Just Eat, Deliveroo, Betfair, Transferwise and Asos - have warned that tech start-ups would be the “biggest victims” of a vote to leave the EU.
An open letter signed by sixty start-up investors, who between them have over £14 billion under their management, says that tech companies rely on having access to the Single Market and being able to easily recruit talented workers from across the EU.
The letter urges voters to back remain in the EU to avoid a damaging economic shock that would “endanger the firms that everyone has come to love and rely on, and who will form major elements of our economy in the future.”
Will Straw, Executive Director of Britain Stronger in Europe, said:
“Britain’s most successful tech start-ups have thrived because we have access to the EU's Single Market, our home market of 500 million people, enabling them to create thousands of jobs in recent years.
“Leaving the EU would be a leap in the dark that would damage UK start-ups - preventing them having a stronger future and becoming the tech giants of tomorrow.”
Full text of letter below
Technology is transforming our lives - how we order food, send money, play games, take a taxi and much more besides. Hundreds of British companies have come from nowhere, like Deliveroo, King, TransferWise and Mimecast, just to name a few. Silicon Roundabout in East London is the beating heart of the UK start-up scene, and Europe's number one start-up hotspot, but across the UK we are now seeing start-ups emerge to solve daily problems.
They all share a number of things - entrepreneurial vision, managerial talent and, in the case of the most successful ones, often money from a venture capitalist. UK-based start-ups have since 2010 collectively raised almost £10 billion from venture capital, much of it from UK based investors. We have been active supporters of the UK's tech scene; and we want to continue supporting these entrepreneurial ambitions through funding and advice.
But for that money to go farthest rather than to waste we need to stay inside the European Union. Membership gives the UK access to a large market of consumers, which allows UK firms to compete globally with competitors from around the world, including the US or Asia or anywhere in between. In addition, free movement of labour in the EU allows the UK to quickly draw upon a talent base - coders, data scientists, mobile developers, full-stack engineers and others which we do not have enough of domestically.
A third reason is that with the UK as an EU member British tech firms and investors like us can act as great bridge to enter the European market, especially for US investors in both companies and funds. Outside the EU we would likely lose access to that funding stream as they would leapfrog us to mainland Europe.
Finally, every credible financial institution - from the IMF and the OECD to the Treasury - have made clear that Brexit would lead to an economic shock. Start-ups would be the biggest victims of such a shock, endangering the firms that everyone has come to love and rely on, and who will form major elements of our economy in the future.
That is why those of us who can will vote to stay in the European Union and all of us urge Britain to remain.
Sonali de Rycker, Accel Partners
Fred Destin, Accel Partners
Harry Nelis, Accel Partners
Philippe Botteri, Accel Partners
Alex von Someren, Amadeus Capital Partners Anne Glover, Amadeus
Capital Partners Jean de Fourgerolles, Ascension Ventures Mattias
Ljugman, Atomico Harry Briggs, BGF Ventures Simon Calver, BGF Ventures
Rory Stirling, BGF Ventures
Thomas Jones, Charlotte Street Capital
Pietro Bezza, Connect Ventures
Sitar Teli, Connect Ventures
Josh Bell, Dawn Capital
Norman Fiore, Dawn Capital
Haakon Overli, Dawn Capital
Nenad Marovac, DN Capital
Julian Carter, EC1 Capital
Alice Bentinck, Entrepreneur First
Matt Clifford, Entrepreneur First
Adrian Lloyd, Episode1
Paul McNabb, Episode1
Simon Murdoch, Episode1
Frederic Court, Felix Ventures
Alain Falys, Firestartr
Richard Muirhead, Firestartr
Nic Brisbourne, Forward Partners
Brent Hoberman, Founders Factory
Hussein Kanji, Hoxton Ventures
Rob Kniaz, Hoxton Ventures
Jan Hammer, Index Ventures
Martin Mignot, Index Ventures
Max Bautin, IQ Capital
Katie Leviten, Jam Jar Investments
Robin Klein, LocalGlobe
Saul Klein, LocalGlobe
Jane Burgoyne, Longwall Ventures
David Denny, Longwall Ventures
Matthew Frohn, Longwall Ventures
Michael Pennington, Longwall Ventures
Toby Coppel, Mosaic Ventures
Michiel Kotting, Northzone
Jos White, Notion Capital
Alex Macpherson, Octopus Ventures
Eileen Burbidge, Passion Capital
Robert Dighero, Passion Capital
Stefan Glanezer, Passion Capital
Sandy McKinnon, Pentech
Nathan Benaich, Playfair Capital
Joe Charlesworth, Playfair Capital
Federico Pirzio-Biroli, Playfair Capital Georgia Taylor Fisher,
Playfair Capital Sean Seton-Rogers, PROFounders Monish Suri, Prime
Ventures Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Seedcamp Reshma Sohoni, Seedcamp
Tracy Doree, Spring Partners Lelia Zegna, Spring Partners Eric
Archambeau, Wellington Partners Christian Hernandez Gallardo, White