NDRC: Brexit not a significant concern for tech entrepreneurs

Michael Lauhoff, Bank of Ireland, and Ben Hurley, NDRC

5 April 2018

Fewer than one-in-five entrepreneurs consider Brexit a significant barrier to their business expanson plans, according to a survey of NDRC portfolio companies.

The research, undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes, surveyed almost 70 entrepreneurs from pre-seed through to Series A level. Only 17% reported a negative view of Brexit.

Education was also not considered an obstacle with 91% of founders having achieved third level education, yet almost one-third of entrepreneurs said they have no formal education in business or technology and just 39% reported having a background in computing.

Half of respondents cited working for themselves as a key reason for starting their own business, while many entrepreneurs relied on their own savings to fund their businesses in the early stages.

The research also found that more than 70% of entrepreneurs were moved to start their business by having an idea they believed would sell, after they had identified a gap in marketa and described themselves as ‘always on’ and risk takers.

Respondents also noted that the challenges facing ventures changed as they made their way through the various funding stages, with hiring the right people a constant issue, and sales important throughout the start-up process.

“Discovering what makes up our entrepreneurs, and also what makes them tick, is of huge value to NDRC as we continue to seek out the best early-stage companies in the country,” said Ben Hurley, CEO, NDRC.

“The findings show that a strong work ethic is a pre-requisite when building a business from the ground up. Meanwhile, Ireland’s education system helps, too, by providing a plethora of university graduates, something we’re seeing in the startup space to great effect.

“Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the research is how two-in-five founders have a background in computing, a figure lower than perhaps many people expect.

“NDRC sees this at its purest form, with founding teams that enjoy a mixture of skills and backgrounds often proving the most robust. NDRC invests at a very early stage, which is a time when such a strong backbone to a business is of paramount importance.”

Michael Lauhoff, director of business banking, Bank of Ireland, added: “Through our partnerships with businesses across Ireland we have always found a resilient entrepreneurial spirit, so I’m not surprised to see the ambitious attitude of our startups despite developments such as Brexit.”

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