Mangrove Capital Partner and former COO of Skype, Michael Jackson, is of the opinion the Brexit is “far from being an economic disaster”. In a release on Finextra, Jackson states that great entrepreneurs feed off of disruption. In this case, the disruption is being driven by geopolitical decisions.
“I was struck by how vocal London’s tech investors and entrepreneurs were in backing the Remain camp in the referendum,” states Jackson. “I was also surprised by their reaction to the outcome – one of disbelief and fear. It seemed remarkably risk averse for a group of people that are praised and rewarded for their dynamism. After all, it’s the same people that preach about the unstoppable force of change and that profit from disruption. Why aren’t they embracing change and seeing the incredible opportunity that it presents?”
Jackson believes the belief the EU Referendum decision will hamper investment is absurd. A risk investor will always embrace a good investment opportunity. He states that other innovation centers such as Tel Aviv and Berlin come with their own specific issuers. While there may be a few investors that are less inclined to “gamble on a mediocre business whose path to profitability depends entirely on EU membership but these are surely the exception.”
Jackson “struggles” to understand why a bank in London would be less inclined to invest in a promising UK-based Fintech firm.
“Great businesses will always get the funding they need; Skype, Google and others were created in the midst of the dotcom crash. Indeed from my company’s perspective (our office is in Luxembourg), UK businesses just got 15 percent cheaper.”
Regarding concerns over new regulatory challenges, Jackson states;
“If you are truly worried about regulation then you probably wouldn’t have set up a business in the first place.”
Regulations are just one of the many challenges an entrepreneur will encounter along the way to success (or failure). But founders always focus on creating great products and overcoming hurdles. In the UK, Jacksons says the FCA and PRA was already distorting the single market theory with their Startup Unit, a move that gives local Fintech firms an advantage over other countries.
“The Regulatory Sandbox and Project Innovate can now thrive without reference to European rules. The rhetoric of the fintech lobbyists in London is particularly parochial so it seems odd that they’re not celebrating the opportunity to further distance themselves from the regulatory regime of Europe. Without constraints from EU legislation, presumably, the UK can make it’s own economic policy, incentives and even state aid where needed and build regulatory bridges to the largest financial market in the world – the United States.”
In addressing the immigration question, Jackson says the UK government may now cherry pick the best talent to enter their country. An updated immigration policy could favor professionals from Asia or the US, thus helping to fill existing skills gaps in the UK.
“I have every faith that the UK can adapt to this historic change. It is after all the strongest economy in Europe. Let’s not forget that English is a global language and London is a cultural powerhouse. It is a world leader in finance and remains in a prime geographical position – midway between Singapore and New York. It is also the largest capital city in Europe, providing opportunities not just for entrepreneurs and their employees, but also their families and children.”
Jackson calls the Brexit decision “the medicine the doctor ordered for Fintech startups.”
“Indeed, from where I’m standing it looks like this new paradigm could be the best thing ever to happen for UK fintech.”