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I see two major threats, the first one being education and talent. Europe is among the top in terms of talent & research, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted. The challenge is that if we don’t see forward-thinking, long-term and brave investments in the field of education, we might lose this edge that’s keeping Europe on the surface. Skilled immigration difficulties are taking a toll on Europe’s scaleups, and we are in bad need of more openness in terms of talent acquisition – startup visas being great initiatives towards solving this problem.
I remain optimistic about the future of European tech - never before have we come as close to creating the next global tech giant. Of course the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is a challenge. Lots of fintechs like TransferWise will be opening additional offices across the continent to mitigate Brexit risk, and there will certainly be hubs like Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam that benefit from start-up jobs coming to their cities. For London to retain its title as Europe’s fintech capital we must continue to attract talent, and make it easy for that talent to come here. We hire to our headquarters from all over the world, roughly 50% of our London office were not born in the UK. Engineers and product managers are vital, but we recruit from overseas across all our teams. Regulation must be flexible enough to encompass rapidly evolving technical and marketing specialist roles.