Huddle CEO hits out at 2013 Budget

Alastair Mitchell
Alastair Mitchell

UK collaboration SaaS provider says more must be done to grow businesses beyond start-up phase

The CEO and co-founder of cloud collaboration provider Huddle has hit out at last week’s Budget, claiming it will not help nurture start-ups beyond the small business phase.

Alastair Mitchell told Cloud Pro that without Government help, UK SMBs either have to look across the Atlantic for growth opportunities or risk being swallowed up by foreign competitors.

“It is great that there is lots of support for start-ups, but the big challenge is the growth into multi-billion dollar companies,” Mitchell said.

“We want to go from a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ to a ‘nation of supermarkets’ [and] the biggest thing the Budget missed was ‘what happens next?’ – what happens once these start-ups have become established and are looking to grow?”

For Huddle, the answer has been to focus its sights on the US, where it has won contracts with the American government, including the Department of Homeland Security and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

In the past 18 months, the company has also opened offices in New York and San Francisco, which will shortly be joined by a third office in Washington DC.

Mitchell said it was a shame Huddle had to move to the US and suggested the UK tech scene could learn a lot from Silicon Valley.

“Silicon Valley isn’t Silicon Valley because it is full of start-ups, it’s because it is full of start-ups that grow into big business, which is fuelled by the level of investment there is in these small companies,” he said.

This need for investment is something Mitchell believes has been overlooked in the UK’s attempt to emulate Silicon Valley with the Tech City project in East London.

Mitchell also called on the Government to source more services from UK businesses.

Government procurement is a problem and I think it is a travesty that the government buys so much from non-UK businesses," he said.

“Government spending as a percentage of GDP is in excess of 40 per cent and public sector buying could help transform UK business, but there needs to be a real push to ‘buy British’,” Mitchell concluded.

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