In the run up to Britain’s referendum on European Union membership, tech investor Mike Lynch was vocal about his opposition to the UK leaving the 28-member state bloc.
It would be “lunacy,” the billionaire entrepreneur said in an interview with Leaders In in June. “I’ve sat in rooms where overseas organisations have made decisions about where they’re going to put a factory or whether they are going to invest in a R&D centre. At the moment, they think about it should it be Holland, should it be Britain. It’s never going to be Britain if we’re outside the EU. They just will not do that.”
But on June 23, in a shock move, Britain voted to leave. Post-Brexit, Lynch is now more diplomatic about Britain’s chances outside of the European Union.
It will create significant challenges, Lynch told Business Insider in an interview — but it will ultimately all come down to how Britain responds to them.
“I think it’s going to present a significant number of short-to-medium term challenges, and the outcome will be dependant of how we handle those,” he said.
“Yes, it’s not a decision I think from an economic point of view — obviously people have their own views on sovereignty and everything else — from an economic point it’s probably [not] the one I would have taken. But it’s made now, and we’ve got to make the best of it.”
52-year-old Lynch is best known for starting Autonomy, an enterprise search engine sold toHewlett-Packard in an $11 billion (£8.3 billion) deal that has left the British entrepreneur embroiled in ongoing lawsuits. He has gone on to found venture capital firm Invoke Capital, which has invested in cybersecurity firm Darktrace, genetics company Sophia Genetics, and most recently, legal AI startup Luminance.
Whether or not Brexit affects how the investor does business at Invoke depends on the exact terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. “For example, in tech we’re probably less concerned about tariffs, because of the way how tech works. But we’re very concerned at being able to get the best talent from around the world, so these are the kind of questions the government has to think about.”
And will it threaten Britain’s status as tech capital of Europe, as some fear? “It all comes down to what decision is made. If we start to make noises that we welcome talent from wherever, be it the EU or the rest of the world … then I think we’ll be fine. If we don’t start to give those messages soon, I do think it could have some effect.”
Business Insider also talked to Mike Lynch about augmented reality, robot lawyers, investing, and the “beginning of a new age.” You can read the full interview here »
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