15 September 2017 Courier Weekly

Finance startups are trying to face up to Brexit

PLUS: Restaurants and Brexit – Silicon Valley VC hits London — Toy craze — Basquiat exhibition

Fintech startups band together against Brexit.

The future of one of the most exciting startup sectors in London has been a point of considerable uncertainty ever since the decision was made to leave the EU.

Earlier this week, it emerged a group of fintech founders – among them the founders of Transferwise, Monzo, Market Invoice, Starling and Funding Circle – have created the Fintech Delivery Panel to have their voice heard by UK politicians. The industry body aims to ‘produce an ambitious post-Brexit vision for the UK’s fintech sector.’

The crux of the matter is the future legitimacy of a UK banking licence in Europe. Several months back, Courier Weekly featured a story about how fintech firms were making plans to leave London.

At the time, Azimo and Revolut indicated they would relocate their headquarters, while Monzo founder and CEO Tom Blomfield told us: ‘We’re considering setting up an office in Berlin or Frankfurt.’

As of yet, not one major fintech startup has left the city.

Restaurants aren’t too happy about Brexit either.

A top restaurateur, who counts the Wolseley and Brasserie Zédel among his ventures, voiced his concerns over Brexit this week too.

Jeremy King said the decision to leave the EU was ‘so stupid, so shortsighted, so xenophobic, so myopic’. He echoes many others in the sector who’ve warned that restaurants will miss out on customers and staff if EU immigration is curtailed.

KPMG estimates a staffing shortfall of over one million hospitality workers in the next 10 years if EU immigration falls to zero when Brexit is finalised in 2019.

This report highlights the variety of issues restaurants are facing when it comes to Brexit.

Greylock Partners enters London.

Entrepreneur First, an accelerator for startups, has landed itself investment from one of the biggest names in Silicon Valley venture funding.

Greylock Partners, which counts Airbnb, Facebook and Dropbox among the companies it’s previously backed, invested £9m in Entrepreneur First this week. It also means Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman (who is also a Greylock partner) will be joining the board of the accelerator – seen as a huge coup for the startups currently on its scheme.

Fidget spinners’ disruption model.

This article in The Economist mulls how the low-tech fidget spinner ‘disrupted’ the toy market earlier this year. There are several factors behind this tearaway success:

  • The low price point.
  • Broad appeal, from stressed-out office workers to kids.
  • The viral effect: it’s estimated fidget spinners took just three weeks to get into stores across the globe after popping up on social media.

The spinning toys have been credited with helping to drive growth in the toy market – which was up 3% globally in the first half of 2017.

Their popularity has been so overwhelming in Russia that a consumer watchdog has warned the mesmerising spinners could be used to manipulate children. ‘They have started selling spinners at opposition rallies,’ one official noted.

Upcoming Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective. 

From 21 September, the Barbican will be holding the UK’s first extensive exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work in 20 years.

When artist died at just 27 years old in 1988, he had only been exhibiting his pieces for around six years. Although he produced an astonishing amount of work – the total amount is unknown – public galleries weren’t interested in buying it at the time. Most pieces are now in private hands.