As the date of October 31 when the United Kingdom is expected to leave the EU is getting nearer, startup news webiste StartupCafe.ro has spoken with four entrepreneurs of the 500,000 Romanians living in Britain about their Brexit-related feelings.
1. IT expect Victor Prisacariu is worried about Britain
Victor Prisacariu has an IT-related PhD in Oxford and has established a startup in augmented reality with an Australian colleague. Their 6D.ai startup based in Oxford and San Francisco is active in an international sector and the Romanian does not seem scared about Brexit.
He has long got ready for Brexit but is worried that he might not be easily visteded by his family in Romania moving forward.
He says he has applied and obtained an indefinite leave to remain, before they introduced "settled" and "presettled". So, he says, he is somehow worried about Brexit - "I don't know how my family would be able to visit and I am worried for Britain in general, that their economy would'nt fall too much".
An interesting item of Prisacariu's biography: a meeting he had with Tim Cook in 2017, when he presented an AR demo to the Apple boss.
2. Mircea Danila Dumitrescu says British citizenship has never been a priority for him.
Dumitrescu has established a startup using AI to provide employee perfomance monitoring solutions to companies. The Romanian and his India-originating business partner established the StatusToday startup in England in 2015 and in 2018 attracted a seed investment of USD 3.9 million from investment funds.
He has been living in the UK for 11 years already and his girlfriend is still in Romania. He said his child and Romanian girlfriend are British and he would get citizenship as well, but it was never a priority for him.
"I am not worried about Brexit. Fortunately, I am active in a sector which is not affected to much and my business looks for global clients", the co-founder and CT of StatusToday told StartupCafe.ro.
3. Tech entrepreneur Adrian Suman: "Not worried"
Adrian Suman is also active in tech. He left Romania for Britain in 2014 and opened a architectural rendering studio for luxury retail clients in London. He launched two startups - CG Alphas and Archi 3D.
Since 2016, tech advances made it so that his business is focused on immersive tech: VR and AR, retail tech.
He is not scared about Brexit either and doesn't have the slightest intention to return to Romania. "In Romania unfortunately this sector is just beginning to move and our focus is to develop in the UK. I will stay, Brexit doesn't affect me personally. Business-wise things are on an ascending path as we've tripled activity for the past 12 months, no minding about Brexit".
He says Brexit is just an "inconventient thing for everybody, but especially for those willing to move here after October 31, 2019".
He said he applied for the settled status in August 2019 as he has been there since 2014, but did not apply for indefinite leave.
4. Bogdan Maran: As immigrants we have more options and benefits
Bogdan maran is a professional photographer. In Romania, he has worked for the main press angencies and has won awards. Nine years ago, he took his camera and left for the UK to make real money. There, he worked as a photographer and consulting services for a while, then founded two startups - Splento - a digital marketplace for photo services - and Visual Hive, a "visual content data science" platform. AI, face recognition, blockchain are some of the techologies used by Visual Hive.
Incertitude about Brexit affects Bogdan, but he is aptimistic. "For now, it is unclear how Brexit would affect us. As any startup, we are building a scalable product so we are interested in access to international markets, bu tworking with software we do not have the same issues as those who work in import-export services, for example. For the time being, UK accepts double citizenship so we, as immigrants, have more options and benefits," he says.
He is concerned about import tariffs from EU countries after Brexit - that is the thing he is watching the most, he says, because his business model implies collaboration with local companies. Their plan is also to build a technical team in Romania and that is also drawing attention.
Official Romanian Foreign Ministry data say that some 500,000 Romanians are living in the UK, of which some 189,000 have applied for a new statute so they can stay and retain their rights in Britain after Brexit.