'British cynicism' hurting tech companies says top Slack exec

Josh Hall's picture

British tech companies are being prevented from reaching multi-billion dollar valuations because of 'British cynicism'.

This is according to Cal Henderson, the British chief technology officer for Slack.

As The Times reports, Henderson claims companies based in Silicon Valley have an advantage over their British competitors because of a more permissive outlook on mistakes and failures.

Henderson said: “While the start-up market is growing in the UK and in particular in London, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley have a few big advantages, such as access to capital and talent.

“But the really big advantage is the supportive environment around making mistakes and learning to build on those. That’s an encouraging environment . . . and is fairly unique to the Bay Area and the Californian attitude, the relentless optimism. The more cynical British approach doesn’t always work.”

Slack made its stock market debut last week at an initial valuation of $16 billion.

But that valuation rose to over $20 billion as shares surged when trading opened on the New York Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, as previously reported, the trade body for the UK tech industry has expressed concern over new visa schemes intended to attract top talent.

Tech London Advocates said the schemes were "not fit for purpose", as three of the bodies endorsing the visas pulled out.

Buy your tickets for the Prolific London Awards

The inaugural event takes place on July 16th