The tech scene reacted with surprise to the news that the UK voted to leave the EU. It had been overwhelmingly in favour of remaining, with one poll of tech workers coming out as 87% in favour of staying in the EU.
So when news of the referendum’s result emerged, many were shocked.
But tech investor Saul Klein isn’t anywhere near as concerned. “Nothing changes for at least two years,” he said in a call with Business Insider on Friday morning. “We have an amazing opportunity to make connections within Europe the best for everyone.”
Klein is a well-known figure in UK tech, having previously founded LoveFilm, startup accelerator Seedcamp, and worked at Skype. He’s also invested in companies like Songkick, Chartbeat, Bit.ly, and MOO
He said that the UK “needs to draw a distinction between Europe and the EU, which are different. We haven’t left Europe. A small majority of people voted to leave the EU. When you slice and dice the numbers, different parts voted very differently. London was firmly for Remain. Two whole countries were firmly for Remain.”
Klein explained that London is the biggest English-speaking city in the world, and he thought it was unlikely that foreign investors would decide not to invest in the city because of a vote for Brexit.
“Just in London there is over two and a half billion dollars resident in terms of capital,” Klein said. “That doesn’t account for Scandinavian VCs who have been more proactive than in last five years. There are VCs that didn’t exist in Berlin five years ago who very proactively investing in London and UK. There’s also corporates from Asia and sovereign wealth funds that weren’t investing here five years ago.”
Did Klein see this coming? “I voted Remain. I had no idea how the country would vote. I was clear on my reasons. There are lots of issues with the EU, and we’re better off resolving those issues together. Now we make lemonade. It doesn’t mean we stop discussions — they can start now.”
“The tech community will do what it always does, which is be adaptable. The interconnection in Europe is so strong. Seedcamp is a great example, one of many entities that exists provides profound interconnections for and between European entrepreneurs.”
Klein had a message of calm for people worried about Brexit and its impact: “Stay calm, tune into Glastonbury, watch the Euros, and get back to business.”