Brexit: Scurri plans UK move as British tech firms fear effects of leaving EU

Wexford-based online logistics firm says it will have to relocate if UK leaves EU

A man wears a t-shirt in London  promoting the ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ cause in  advance of  the Brexit referendum. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty

A man wears a t-shirt in London promoting the ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ cause in advance of the Brexit referendum. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty

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While many companies with exposure to the UK market are busy finalising plans to relocate in the event of a Brexit, one Irish start-up is gearing up to move to London if the vote to leave the European Union succeeds.

Scurri, a Co Wexford-based online logistics firm, has said it will have little choice but to shift its operations to the UK should the country reject Europe.

The company, which recently secured a €3.4 billion deal to provide bar-coding services for Fastway and Parcel Connect, said it would be unable to fully service its customer base from Ireland should Brexit happen.

“The majority of our clients are in the UK and while we are able to service the business from here as it stands, if things change then we expect to have to relocate there,” said chief executive Rory O’Connor.

Scurri is a cloud-based carrier management platform that integrates parcel carriers and merchants. It currently employs 25 people and is hoping to double that headcount in the next year at its Wexford town base.

“Our business is about organising deliveries and so that entails being close to what is going on in the UK, particularly in terms of understanding customs, tariffs and so on,” said Mr O’Connor.

“Things are very much up in the air at the moment and are likely to stay that way if the vote to leave the EU is successful or if it is a close vote.

“In that scenario, given that about 90 per cent of our business is UK-based we’ll have to shift there,” he added.

Negative impact

Mr O’Connor’s comments come as a new survey shows that almost two-thirds of tech employers in the UK believe Brexit will have a negative impact on the global technology sector.

The Juniper Research study shows most employers believe decision to leave the European Union would be bad for business with more than seven in 10 respondents saying they thought it would be harder for UK-based tech firms to attract employees from EU member states.

Nearly two-thirds of those respondents who are against a Brexit said the sector would suffer as a result of reduced funding from the European Union. Many also said leaving the EU would make London less attractive as a tech hub.

However, the survey also found that 35 per cent of respondents believed a vote to leave would have little impact on the UK’s tech sector, or could even have a positive effect.

Almost all of those who believe a Brexit wouldn’t be a big deal cited the global nature of the tech industry and how it is largely unaffected by political or geographic boundaries.

Many also said a Brexit would lead to less red tape.

Nearly half of those surveyed who maintain they are in favour of Brexit also said they believed new deals with other countries would easily compensate for the loss of EU trade conditions.

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