Startup Brexits, Heads for Paris
Once, a thriving startup formerly based in London, is packing up and heading to Paris. Its CEO claims the move is a result of the confusion about the upcoming Brexit, as well as Macron's definite pro-business stance.
Once's founders designate it as "the leader of the romantic encounter on mobile in Europe". The app now boasts over five million downloads.
French citizens Jean Meyer, Guillaume Sempé, and Guilheim Duché established Once-- a dating app --in Brittany in 2015. At the time, the team decided London was the best location for them.
As Meyer, the CEO, explains, London's abbreviated notice periods, clear contracts, and better pay, helped the fledgling company to entice talent from all over the world. All these things aided Once in growing a larger and more solid foundation than they could have in Paris.
Then, the Brexit referendum passed in June 2016. Although the official enactment of the legislation is not immediate, it has already affected the startup.
Deputy chief marketing officer Eva Peris says that the Brexit instantaneously slowed Once's growth. She claims, "You can't grow a company if you can't get the right people in."
The developments in the UK scared off much of the international talent that once flocked to London. Meyer details that numerous interested candidates rejected offers from Once following the Brexit. As he says, "Uncertainty is the worst enemy of the entrepreneur."
According to Peris, potential transplants began to perceive London as a city where you couldn't stay long-term. Also, as the level of the pound fell, salaries grew less attractive. Peris makes clear that the move to Paris wasn't personal, but for the sake of the company.
Meanwhile in Paris, the election of Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker, was viewed as good news for business. Macron's labor reforms simplify bringing in and letting go of employees and promise lowered taxes.
The primarily French-run Once saw this as an excuse to escape London. They say it feels like the right choice. Although employment taxes are higher in Paris than in London, Paris is currently full of possibilities.
Now, it seems, Paris is the right place for startups to thrive.
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