UK tech startups overwhelmingly confident despite government’s ‘awful’ handling of Brexit, Q1 2019 Tech Tracker Survey reveals 

79% expect to increase turnover in next 12 months, but 53% fear the impact of Brexit

Studio Graphene has commissioned an independent survey of more than 100 UK-based technology startups to uncover their confidence levels and barriers to growth. It found:

  • 79% of UK tech businesses are either ‘very confident’ (39%) or ‘confident’ (40%) they will increase their turnover over the coming 12 months
  • In the next year, 91% plan to hire more staff, 67% intend to expand into new overseas territories, and 66% will seek investment
  • Hiring the right talent was cited as the most common challenge tech startups are facing – 60% foresee this being an issue in the year ahead
  • This was followed by increasing sales (58%), securing investment (44%) and enhancing their product or service (25%)
  • Brexit is also a cause for concern among the majority of the early stage businesses
  • 53% think Brexit will make growth more difficult, compared with 12% who predict leaving the EU will make it easier
  • 88% say the Government’s handling of Brexit has been ‘awful’ (65%) or ‘poor’ (23%)

The UK’s tech businesses are overwhelmingly confident of their growth prospects for the year ahead despite the Government’s “awful” handling of Brexit, according to Studio Graphene’s Q1 2019 UK Tech Tracker Survey.

London-based company Studio Graphene’s inaugural UK Tech Tracker Survey is a quarterly initiative that monitors the confidence levels of Britain’s tech startups and assesses the challenges they face. More than 100 C-level personnel within early stage, UK-based technology companies took part in the research throughout March 2019.

The Q1 2019 results of the UK Tech Tracker show that 79% of businesses in this sector are either ‘very confident’ (39%) or ‘confident’ (40%) they will increase their turnover over the coming 12 months.

Looking to the year ahead, 91% of the tech firms quizzed said they plan to hire more staff, 67% intend to expand into new overseas territories, and 66% will seek investment.

In terms of the challenges they foresee over the coming 12 months, hiring the right talent was the most commonly cited issue – 60% predict this will be an obstacle to their future growth. This was followed by increasing sales (58%), securing investment (44%) and enhancing their product or service (25%).

Turning to Brexit, Studio Graphene’s Q1 2019 UK Tech Tracker Survey found that just over half (53%) of early stage businesses in the country’s digital sectors believe Brexit will have a negative impact on their growth opportunities in the months ahead. This compares to just 12% who feel it will have a positive effect.

Moreover, the research showed that 88% of UK tech startups feel the Government’s handling of Brexit has been ‘awful’ (65%) or ‘poor’ (23%).

Ritam Gandhi, Founder and Director of Studio Graphene, commented: “The UK’s tech startups are among the very best in the world, but this isn’t something we should take for granted. We have launched our quarterly UK Tech Tracker Survey to explore confidence levels among these businesses and also to better understand the challenges that stand in front of them.

“The Q1 2019 UK Tech Tracker Survey shows that even Brexit chaos cannot derail the optimism of tech entrepreneurs in this country, which is to be celebrated. But it also illustrates that raising investment and hiring talent are key concerns among tech firms. That’s why it’s vital both the government and private sector work together to ensure these obstacles are addressed and, ultimately, that Britain’s exciting early stage businesses get the support they need.”

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