Exclusive CEO briefing: Tim Barker, CEO, DataSift, talks to CBR about why privacy will become a killer app and making social data consumable.
Growing a company in the UK can be challenging, issues with late stage capital and financing in general mean that UK companies often seek funding from the US, or are acquired by a larger tech company.
"If you look in the enterprise tech sector, that’s been the traditional challenge for UK companies; they are just bought out before they receive that prominence."
Barker asked how many UK household tech names there are: "Sage, Autonomy, AMD? And in the last decade probably none."
DataSift had early seed round investors in the UK to bootstrap it from zero, but it has sought venture money from the US and has taken no money from the UK; due to a historical lack of appetite from the UK to invest in the same way as the US does.
"The role of a start-up is to take risks; otherwise you should put the money in a bank.
"There is a higher appetite and recognition of risk and growth just when we work with either New York or San Francisco based investors."
A trend that the CEO has identified is that of companies going global a lot faster than they use to, with companies like Uber and Deliveroo focusing on cities not countries for global expansion.
Barker says this is because: "People across London, Paris, New York are a lot more similar than people between London and Birmingham, so you focus on going global through cities."
This requires a lot of capital, and while he has seen investment from the government going in at the low end with £50k to get a company started, the challenge to be successful is receiving investment to scale operations globally.