Skype cofounder and CEO of venture capital firm Atomico, Niklas Zennström thinks that European tech will thrive regardless of Brexit, according to The Wall Street Journal.
With the economic uncertainty off the back of Brexit across Europe, many had doubted whether the continent’s tech scene would suffer as a result. The fact that London – arguably the largest tech centre in Europe – will be removed from the EU, and removing itself from a market of over 500 million people, could potentially have a knock-on effect across the continent.
Zennström however believes that the impact won’t be felt. Speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference on Wednesday, the Swedish entrepreneur said that "Brexit won’t have an impact on Europe becoming a tech hub.
"Entrepreneurs don’t think I shouldn’t start a company because of Brexit. But [we] need [that] free flow of talent."
He went on to highlight that there are more software developers across Europe than there are in the US but that free movement between countries is imperative to the success of the continent’s tech scene.
When Rolfe Winkler, a technology journalist at The Wall Street Journal, asked him what’s wrong with Europe, Zennström replied "What’s wrong with your question? We have many billion dollar opportunities". He explained that it’s a younger ecosystem in Europe, before adding that it’ll have a Google-sized company within the next 10 years.
Many UK-based companies are already eyeing a move out of the country in light of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Taavet Hinrikus, CEO of TransferWise said in June that "headquartering elsewhere is a possibility". Similarly, over 100 London-based tech startups are considering moving to Berlin.
Zennström might be correct in his assertion that Europe’s tech scene will be okay post-Brexit, but it is still up in the air as to whether the same can be said about Britain’s own technology economy.