The CEO of a London fintech startup believes we will see a spike in the number of people signing up to be drivers with Uber in the wake of the Brexit vote, as investment, wages, and jobs in the UK suffer.
Aneesh Varma, founder and CEO of credit scoring startup Aire, was asked about the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union on competitiveness at the Fintech Without Boarders event in London on Thursday.
“The way we think of work and jobs will change a bit. There will be some sectors that take a little pinch. I personally believe the thesis will swing towards more people looking at self-employment, taking second jobs, more people will sign up as Uber drivers. It’s the nature of the economy for the next 12 to 15 months. Then I think we’ll get more of an idea and more certainty.”
What Varma is getting at is the fear that, as a result of uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future relationship with Europe, investment into the UK could suffer.
As a result, wages could stagnate and some sectors, such as tech startups that are dependent on venture capital money or developers who flog buildings overseas, could see layoffs. Tech startups were already tightening their belts before the Brexit.
Add to that the fact that the cost of importing food and other goods from overseas will rise as a result of the fall in the pound and more people will be looking for new ways to make money.
That could be a big boost to the so-called “gig economy” (also called the “sharing economy”) — companies like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Uber, and Fiverr that offer online platforms for people to make money through part-time work on their terms.
For now, the UK economy looks pretty solid. Unemployment has fallen to a new record low of 4.9% of the population (although wages are still stagnating) and the Bank of England’s latest review of what UK businesses are up to and their plans for the future was better than expected.
But almost all banks and economists are expecting at best a stagnation or growth and at worst a deep recession in the months and years ahead. Good news for Uber, perhaps.