As the founder and CEO of Buyapowa, Europe’s leading referral marketing platform, I have of course been keenly following the debate concerning a possible Brexit after the referendum on 23rd June. We are based in Farringdon in London and, while we already have clients across the EU, we are also actively looking to increase our client base in Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Italy and Spain in particular. So perhaps it is a little ironic that a UK based marketing software company is looking to expand across Europe when the UK is now debating disengagement from the EU.
However, in some respects I am not so worried about a Brexit simply because software knows no borders. We are all used to buying best in class software created outside the EU, whether that is from North America, Switzerland, Russia or Israel and much of the software we use day-to-day is already hosted on the cloud often outside of the EU. In fact, with the cloud few people could tell you exactly where their software is hosted. So I don’t think the fact that the UK was outside of the EU would affect our ability to sell our referral marketing platform to European clients, particularly as the nearest competing enterprise level solutions we have are based in North America.
However, while I don’t have a crystal ball and cannot tell you exactly what a Brexit would look like, if the freedom of movement for top talent was to be affected then that could concern a UK based technology business like Buyapowa. Firstly, as we build all our software in-house, and while we are lucky to have a first class tech team, we know that it is very hard to attract and keep top tech talent. If a Brexit made it harder for UK companies to get top quality coders from, say, Italy or Greece, then that could adversely affect London’s position as a leading tech hub. Another concern I would mention, is that for a fast growing tech business like Buyapowa, we typically start the process of building up our business in another country first from our London HQ and would not open an office in the new country until we have a sufficient number of local clients for that to make economic sense. Of course that requires that we can hire top quality native speakers for business development and client support roles in London. Again, if a Brexit meant we could not do that as easily, we might need to incur more costs earlier in our international expansion.
On a final note, one of the advantages of being based in London is access to a large network of investors who are willing to invest in innovative tech start-ups. While it is possible that the uncertainty around a Brexit could delay some investment decisions, you only need to look at the success of Israel as a leading destination of venture capital to see that the money will follow the talent.
Gideon Lask, Founder & CEO, Buyapowa
Image Credit: Flickr/Sébastien Bertrand