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Britain ‘must lay out red carpet’ to retain top tech firms



Britain must ‘lay out the red carpet’ for pioneering technology companies to ensure they stay in the UK and boost growth, a top venture capital investor has urged.

Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at tech investment firm Balderton Capital, says he fears that start-ups being bought up by foreign predators or listing overseas could see none left in British hands.

‘That will be dangerous and a huge shame,’ said Chandratillake, whose firm has invested in cyber security firm Darktrace, e-retailer THG and banking app group Revolut. ‘We have to create an environment where at least some of them stay here for ever.’

The City suffered a major blow when Cambridge microchip maker Arm Holdings last year listed in New York. More recently, Darktrace – also headquartered in Cambridge – agreed to being taken over by US private equity group Thoma Bravo.

With the tax burden nearing its highest level since the 1940s, the effort would be critical to both Labour and Tory plans to raise more money, he argued, adding: ‘Both parties are saying that we are going to have more growth. Guess where that’s going to come from?’ 

Boost growth: Britain must ‘lay out the red carpet’ for pioneering technology companies

Balderton says it has raised £3.6 billion to invest in tech firms in the UK and on the Continent and backed more than 250 companies.

But Chandratillake said it was not just about money, adding: ‘We are also driven by a level of patriotism. We would like far more of our companies to go public here.’

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