Notes On #Brexit: Dublin Goes Forward

I moved here a year and a half ago, inspired by the story of an independent island beyond the UK that supports its tech ecosystem and is welcoming to immigrants like me.

David Scanlon told me this story and without meeting him I probably never would have come. Now it is even more important to share the story of Ireland and moving here with others so that’s what I’m doing through my role as Editor of Dublin Globe.

Dublin could be your home. It’s full of acceptance, friendliness, and openness – for business and fun. So come join us!

When I spoke at the “Brexit Brekkie” last Friday I talked about my great experience so far here in Ireland, and I was joined by eight other people who call Dublin a home: entrepreneurs, investors and experts. Here is what they had to say about Brexit, opportunity, and the way forward.

John McGrane, Director General of The British Irish Chamber of Commerce:
Last Friday, the sky fell in over London, and the sun rose over Dublin. Now is the time to reach out and do what Ireland does best: make great friendships, and make great partnerships and alliances. Our plan is called “Find a Friend.” UK folks deserve the partnerships that we, uniquely, can give to them: English speaking, thriving, vibrant, ready, and open.  

Nils Anden, Chief Marketing Officer at CurrencyFair
I’m the Swede living in London so I’m one of the reasons that they voted to leave the EU, I guess! It’s been interesting to see this situation play out through my work at CurrencyFair. No one wanted to send money because they had no idea what was going to happen with the current market. Now, everyone is adapting to a new reality. CurrencyFair has always been regulated here in Ireland, so it is clear for us. A couple of companies from the UK have asked us how to get regulated here and that’s going to be a massive opportunity for the country.

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Ronan Perceval, CEO Phorest, Founder Demonware
We’ve 11 people in the UK, and a few months back I asked them which way they would vote. Most of them said they were going to vote “Leave.” They seemed to have pretty logical arguments and I started to panic a little bit when I heard them. We hedged about a year’s revenue just in case.

Garrett Murray, Manager – Policy, Planning and Government Relations, Enterprise Ireland
Dublin could become an even more attractive place to establish a startup, or receive an international education now. The spin-off effects of Brexit may be more startups and more entrepreneurs. At Enterprise Ireland we’ve developed a five-point plan and have a big Brexit section on our website. We’ve also established a helpline to engage with our clients on Brexit. One important aspect we emphasise is foreign exchange. It is important that companies consider what is most appropriate for them.

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Will Prendergast, Founding Partner in Frontline Ventures
This is a moment to reflect on the fact that there is currency risk for Irish companies selling into the UK. We should use that as an incentive to test our ability to go into other markets, particularly the US. Use the wake-up call to stretch and go further.

Patricia Scanlon, Founder & CEO of SoapBox Labs
Our roadmap included plans to open a UK office to facilitate growing interest from UK clients and attract UK investment. We now have to pause that effort to reflect on what the implications are in terms of overhead. Competition for talent in the UK will no doubt become fierce. So what is next? We will likely focus on scaling in the UK from Dublin, just factor in a lot more travel and look quicker to the US. Maybe not a bad outcome.

Mark Sugrue, CTO of Kinesence
Last week, we heard about EU funded Horizon 2020 research projects getting cancelled if they were being led by a UK organisation. That is a huge opportunity for Ireland because there’s a lot of consortiums out there that are nearly ready to go. The next funding round starts in the Autumn, and those UK consortiums are now looking for new leaders to go forward to the next funding round. It’s a huge opportunity for Ireland.

Declan Ryan, Founder and Managing Partner of Irelandia Aviation
We’re going to be very focused and effective at getting international and UK startups to come to Dublin. We love immigrants. One of our new ideas is to become the home of startup immigrants across Europe and, possibly, the world. Another idea is to look at all British aviation startups and companies and ask them to join us here in Dublin. We’re already the hub of aviation globally.

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