Brexit video diaries: 2 Northern startups on Article 50, jobs and the exchange rate

Martin Bryant, October 7, 2016 2 min read

This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.

In late August we asked two Northern startup founders to give their reaction to the EU referendum result. While we originally planned for it to be a monthly series, things were mostly quiet in the following weeks. That was until the Conservative Party Conference brought several major developments.

Theresa May’s announcement that Article 50 would be triggered before the end of March 2017 and Amber Rudd’s proposals to make companies keep a register of all non-British workers caused much debate in the business community. What do our two Brexit video diarists make of the news?

The Remain voter

David Levine is the founder and CEO of DigitalBridge, a computer vision company we’ve previously featured on the Tech North blog. Based in Manchester, the company works with retailers to show how furniture and other items will look in customers’ homes.

Although he’s pro-EU, Levine is reassured that the government is getting on with the process of leaving, rather than staying silent on its plans. He finds the messaging around immigration more troubling, and says it could affect where and how he recruits staff in the future.

The Leave voter

Lee Evans is the founder and CEO of SurveyMe. This Stockport-based startup employs seven people in the UK and eight in the USA. They have customers in 151 countries and the majority of their sales revenue is in US dollars.

Evans says that the current exchange rate is hurting SurveyMe in the short-term as it invests in its American business. However, as US revenue increases, a weak pound will actually be an advantage to the company. He finds May’s approach to the Brexit process “sensible” and is bullish about future changes to the labour market. While he admits there will be “bumps along the way,” he’s optimistic about the future of the UK and his business.

We’ll check back with David and Lee in a few weeks’ time.

Read next: Growing the North of England’s pool of tech talent

government, Opinion, skills, talent