So, a while ago, I wrote a short commentary on Brexit and its effect on UK startups. In short, critics were worried about a possible reduction of investment attraction due to the split. However, I believe that opportunities abound in post-Brexit Britain and we are already seeing examples of that.
"The time to invest is when there's blood running in the streets. -- Baron Rothschild
Pivotal, a billion dollar software giant, last week revealed its expansion in London and plans to increase staff to 200 by the end of next year and increase the UK share of business from less than 10 per cent currently to as much as 30 per cent. This is a company with an impressive investor base including Dell, Ford, Microsoft, GE and VMWare. So this commitment clearly comes with their blessing too!
But it was Nextdoor that stimulated this post…..
What is “Nextdoor”?
Two days ago, as I was scrolling through the news, I saw that a US company, Nextdoor, just decided to invest in strategic expansion in the UK, stating the reason to be Brexit. For those who are not yet familiar with Nextdoor, it’s a very successful six-year-old company based in San Francisco.
The company produces a social networking app that connects neighbours. Moving away from the Facebook and Twitter model, Nextdoor promotes social networking within a municipality or a small vicinity, in which neighbours will share local news.
"Love thy neighbor -- and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier. -- Mae West
A very different concept of social networking.
According to WIRED, its CEO Nirav Tolia, a graduate of Stanford University, highly underscored the different concept of social networking that Nextdoor is pursuing in comparison to conventional social networking services. They are tapping into the sense of a close-knit community between households, rather than the urge to share your personal life with the world.
Nextdoor’s philosophy is right in line with Brexit
It seems like Nextdoor really believed that a UK launch made sense for them. Brexit happened because we demonstrated through our referendum that we are concerned with immigration and border control. Brexit reflected the desire to stick together. Nextdoor is built exactly for that mentality – the sense of a close-knit neighborhood, communal protection and local updates. Isn’t that what Britain has always been about? Just take a trip to the Cotswolds!
Nextdoor and Pivotal are just two examples of strategic launches in the UK – one of which was specifically made due to Brexit. Both companies have created tremendous traction in the US. Together they have raised over a billion dollars. Such expansion from high-growth US tech startups will certainly encourage policy makers, investors, and the public on a bright future post-Brexit.
We will see more of these similar activities happening in the UK tech startup space. Brexit is creating a very different kind of opportunity that not many people can comprehend just yet. That said, I’m standing my ground on my statement – that quitting the EU will deeply benefit the UK economy and as we see more of these pivotal (‘scuse the pun) decisions, the more comfortable we will be in taking that leap of faith despite the scaremongering that assaulted us all in advance of our vote (from all advocates – both Brexit and Remain).