LONDON — Within 24 hours of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, London-based technology startup Netz saw five investors suspend hundreds of thousands of pounds in promised money.
Now the company, which provides data to financial companies on potential customers, can’t hire the candidates it had lined up. And should it eventually get the needed investment, it will face the risk of not being able to tap enough talent as Britain’s departure from the EU could make it more difficult to hire from the bloc’s other 27 countries.
“The people we want to hire, are they still interested in coming to London? There is a lot of uncertainty from a regulatory point of view,” said CEO Frank Bertele, a German national. Since the vote, he has accelerated plans to expand into the U.S.
Britain’s decision to break away from the EU has created huge uncertainties for businesses, and there is no more vulnerable a period for a company than its infancy. Survival depends on getting the timing right in attracting investment, hiring workers, and spending on office space and equipment. London’s tech companies will scramble to cope — though true to the startup community’s culture of adaptability, many are looking to the tumult also as a source of opportunity for new business and to gain ground on the less nimble established companies.