LeWeb 2013: Level39’s Eric van der Kleij Warns Of Closed Borders

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Level39 boss Eric van der Kleij warns that insularity could cripple the UK’s burgeoning startup community

The UK tech scene will suffer if the country leaves the EU, the head of technology accelerator Level39, told TechWeekEurope today  in a video interview with deputy editor Tom Brewster.

The technology sector is starting to provide big growth in an otherwise depressed economy, said Eric van der Kleij, who runs the financial technology incubator Level39. However, tech companies need freedom of movement for the staff they want to hire, and this could be jeopardised if the UK becomes more insular, he said.

Eric van der Klejj Level39 Leweb 2013 square

Watch out for EU-sceptics

“How many of us know someone that works for a company that didn’t start in your country?” says van der Kleij. “You cannot try to close off your borders, because you acknowledge that prosperity comes from these flows..

The start-up guru is concerned that anti-European sentiment is growing, and the UK government is likely to run a referendum on leaving the EU,

He does, however, give the government credit for its entrepreneur visa, describing it as a “very bold thing to do”.

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