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How startups and fintechs in the European Union feel about Brexit

Anyone listening in on the start-up scene, for example, not only regrets the departure of the British, often also hears the sound of joy. For example, Julian Grigo, who is responsible for financial services at the digital association Bitkom, is now allowed to call his phone more often to explain to fintech companies from all over the world how to come to Germany, especially to Berlin. Grigo: “Berlin is a hyped city worldwide.”

The countdown is on:  Britain wants to leave the European Union. The move will have serious macroeconomic consequences for the European internal market, but also very concrete for the companies in the German capital. But exactly, whether positive or negative, not everyone agrees.

Chris Bartz is the boss of one of these Fintech companies. He and his company are already among the lucky ones who are allowed to work in the promised city. Elinvar, as the company is known, supports traditional banks on their way to the digital world. Bartz employs 70 people in Prenzlauer Berg. United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union membership referendum? “Not good,” says the former banker, who now helps his old colleagues in the financial market deer into the future.

“The exit of the British from the EU will weaken the European market. This is bad, especially for young and fast-growing digital companies, because they can develop much faster in the single European internal market. “But:” Berlin benefits from Brexit. The city will be one of the central tech locations next to London. “You can already see clearly that people are actively orienting themselves from London to Berlin or people from all over the world are not looking around London anymore, but in Berlin.

Sascha Schubert, Vice Chairman of the Association of German Start-ups, sees Berlin on the upswing: “Definitely, young founders from the EU will think twice about whether they want to start their new start-up in London or rather on the continent. There is a clear advantage here for Berlin and Germany. ”

Every third company fears losses

Now slightly exalted optimism belongs to the Berlin start-up scene like the Queen in the Buckingham Palace. No wonder, then, that the euphoria flattens out quite quickly, if one addresses the Brexit in more traditional branches. Joachim Brückmann, Head of Urban Development and International Markets at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says: “We have identified more than 400 companies that have significant business operations with the UK.”

The chamber counts 120 Berlin companies with offices in the UK and turned 70 branches of British companies in the German capital. 37,000 employees work for Berlin-based companies in the UK. According to IHK, the British companies employ around 13,000 people in Berlin.

In a survey of the Chamber of Commerce under the more traditional Berlin entrepreneurship are showing fears: more than every third company believes in the Brexit to a deterioration of their business relations with the British. Of particular concern is the lack of experience of many current UK companies in trade with third countries. Should it come at the end of of March – and this is probably quite probable – to an unregulated exit of the Kingdom from the European Union, the island would be such a third state.

What that means, Paul also tries to explain to Küller. Kündiger is the founder and managing director of Hauptstadtader GmbH, which operates a sticker printer called DeineStadtKlebt.de. One of the major customers of the medium-sized company sits on the island and trusts the Berliners because of their special know-how and the short delivery times. Cancellator: “The customer is an organizer in England and gets from us each very shortly before his events personalized and tamper-proof stickers for the inside of car windows, which serve as entrance tickets to events.”

If the European Union and the United Kingdom do not make any arrangements in the coming weeks that will enable the Berlin label printers and the British event organizer to continue working together, the relationship will face a major test of endurance. “I even thought about relocating parts of our production to the UK,” says Kündiger. But that would not be an option for a single major customer. The thought of customs formalities and drastically increasing delivery times prepares callers sleepless nights.

Big or small, well-known or unknown – Brexit challenges almost every entrepreneur with foreign business. The aircraft turbine manufacturer Rolls-Royce plans to relocate its division for the approval of large aircraft engines to Dahlewitz in the Berlin area. Better safe than sorry.


Also published on Medium.

Published inE-commerceFintechStartupsTechnology

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