Brexit Could Cause as Much ‘Opportunity as Disruption’: VC



Fears of Brexit alone were enough to reduce venture capital investment in Europe by more than a third during the second quarter, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Now that the U.K. actually voted to leave the European Union (EU), investors are examining the long-term implications of the decision.

John Frankel is founding partner of ff Venture Capital, a New York-based firm providing seed-stage funding to technology companies. He told CNBC that major tech centers in Europe are likely to eye top tech talent in a race to recruit the best from the U.K.

He also predicted Brexit could spur strong opportunities for young companies.

“We anticipate more UK-based startups wanting to move to the U.S. over the next few years for the relative stability and wide open markets,” he told CNBC.

While predictions of the long-term impact of the vote on job mobility circulate, Frankel didn’t think it would have a major impact on the industry.

As Brexit’s impact continues to reverberate across financial markets, it could ultimately create new opportunities in venture capital, according to Frankel.

“Startups are the natural beneficiaries of an economic slowdown,” Frankel said. “By freeing up talent to explore ideas, people will be drawn to growth and the relative growth of startups becomes more attractive in an uncertain world.”

A global slowdown could have a cyclical impact on larger startups but investors outside of the U.K. with international exposure are likely to get more for their investment dollars.

If the global economy slows, Frankel thinks, “venture capital is one of the areas where there are still double digit returns and that will attract capital and that capital will be deployed,” Frankel said. “It’s only a matter of timing.”

“People do not like change, but it is from change that opportunity arises,” he said. “We anticipate that Brexit may well end up bringing as much opportunity as disruption.”




Reprinted by permission.

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About the author: Uptin Saiidi

Uptin Saiidi works for CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and is a producer for CNBC.com’s  “The Starters,” an online series covering innovative startups.

Prior to joining CNBC, Uptin was at MTV News where he digitally produced, wrote, shot and edited. He has also written for Huffington Post and New York Post.

Uptin is a graduate of The George Washington University where he studied Finance, International Business and Communications. He’s currently pursuing a Journalism certificate at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

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