The vast majority of UK tech startups want to remain in the EU

TransferWise founders Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet HinrikusTransferWiseTransferWise founders Kristo Kaarmann, left, and Taavet Hinrikus, employ people from all over Europe in their London office.

An overwhelming majority of the UK’s digital startups want to remain in the European Union, according to a survey published Wednesday by startup advocacy organisation, Coadec (The Coalition for a Digital Economy).

Coadec asked startup founders, employees, and investors whether they think the UK should remain in the EU.

The survey, published just four days after Prime Minister David Cameron announced an EU referendum will be held June 23, was answered by 175 people, which is a relatively small sample size but enough to give an indication of startup opinion.

Of the respondents, 81% said that the UK should remain in the EU, while 19% said it should leave.

Those wanting to stay in the European Union said the key reasons were:

  • Access to a large single market, with harmonised regulations
  • Free movement of labour, giving access to a talented workforce
  • Having a “seat at the table”
  • Stability and security

For those who said the UK should leave, the key issues were:

  • Sovereignty
  • Over-regulation and red tape

Guy Levin, executive director of Coadec, said in a statement: “The UK’s digital startups are clear that they want us to stay in the EU, in order to have access to a single market of 500 million consumers, a talented labour market, and a seat at the table setting the rules.

“They don’t think the EU is perfect, but have clearly said that the UK is better off remaining inside the European Union, than out on our own. The UK is the best place in Europe to launch and grow a digital startup, we should not put that at risk.”

Other surveys show a similar theme. Lobbying group Tech London Advocates found that 87% wanted to remain in the EU, while techUK found that 71% of members wanted to remain in a reformed EU.

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