Welcome back America: tech businesses take note
Joe Biden’s swearing in this week as the 46th President of the United States signalled the dawn of a new era and the charting of a new course for the US, the West and the world as a whole.
A chorus of world leaders echoed a similar sentiment – “Welcome back America!” Biden’s Presidency marks the resurgence of America to its former, more familiar self. America’s return to its role as a stable and sensible central pillar of the global power of nations will be seen by many as good news for businesses, in particular the burgeoning tech sector.
Biden is reportedly already planning a significant pandemic-related fiscal stimulus to maintain momentum and push the economy forward. This has been welcomed in the stock markets, which have responded positively to this news and to the inauguration.
However, challenges remain. Beyond the more obvious crises in the economy, health and society, a recent survey of investors found fears of soaring stock valuations in US tech equities to signal a possible bubble nearly ready to burst.
Nevertheless, it remains clear that the US is on the up and tech businesses are taking note.
It is therefore unfortunate timing that the dawn of a new open-palmed Presidency in the US has come at a time of shrinking posture in post-Brexit Britain. Governments can be like steering a large ship – and at present it looks like the two Atlantic forces are heading in different directions.
From this side of the pond, a trend is gathering pace. It was announced this week that Oxford-based biotech firm Immunicore had chosen to list on the Nasdaq in New York, with many calling the decision a blow to London.
In addition, UK AI firm Blue Prism, who initially listed on the junior AIM market on the London Stock Exchange, recently announced plans to also list in New York in what is shaping up to be a blockbuster event.
Yet despite the challenges that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic presents, trade body Tech Nation forecasts that technology exports from the UK will still increase by £8.5bn post-Brexit, even as the pandemic continues to bite.
This comes as the UK remains a core hub for starting and scaling innovative tech businesses.
It has recently been reported that Deliveroo is eyeing London for its much-awaited flotation. Moreover, at the end of last year it was announced that Cambridge-founded cyber security firm Darktrace is gearing up for a sizable listing in 2021.
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak commented last week that the City of London could be set for a post-Brexit ‘Big Bang 2.0’, reassuring businesses that London remains a dynamic place to do business and that it will remain a financial centre both now and in the years to come.
So, while the US and UK seem to be steering theirs ships in different directions, there are still positive signs in the UK economy and tech sector specifically. It is also not too late to chart a different course and for Britain to leverage its strengths and continue to remain an attractive place to do business.