What keeps UK CEOs up at night? Hiring and expansion

Client News  |  November 23, 2016

The fifty fastest growing UK technology businesses just shared their biggest legal and operational challenges with Deloitte. Half  of CEOs (53 percent) said that international expansion was their biggest legal challenge, followed by domestic expansion at 34 percent. Operational challenges were more diverse, with 25 percent of CEOs citing recruitment, 13 percent brand presence, followed by geographic expansion (10 percent), headcount management (10 percent), systems and processes (9 percent) and increasing customer numbers (9 percent).


We wanted to know more, so we caught up with three SVB clients in the UK who were featured in Deloitte’s ranking. We often hear from our clients that recruiting and expansion are challenging. In fact, 95 percent of UK executives surveyed  in SVB’s annual Startup Outlook  survey said it’s challenging to find people with the skills necessary to help grow their businesses—up 6 percentage points since 2013.  To assist clients with growth and expansion challenges, at home and abroad, SVB offers insights and solutions gained from more than three decades of experience banking innovation companies and our vibrant global network.  


Here’s what our UK clients are saying:

Ismail Ahmed, Founder and CEO,  WorldRemit: “As our business expanded internationally, one of our major challenges was obtaining licences from financial regulators in every country we send money from. The requirements differ greatly in complexity and scope from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. To obtain appropriate licenses as a financial firm, you must build a deep understanding of local regulations, and be prepared to invest considerable time, resources and patience.”

Chris Blaxall, CFO, Performance Horizon: "As a high growth global SaaS company with a plan to double revenues again over the next 12 months, recruitment of top talent is a primary focus. We consider Silicon Valley Bank a great business partner given their technology expertise and market knowledge across the US, UK and Europe.”  

Benedikt von Thuengen, CEO, Speechmatics:“Recruiting is interesting, in that we are getting some very good engineering talent but are really struggling with finding strong commercial and marketing candidates, in particular with international experience. We are very lucky that we are able to work with an outstanding recruiter, Mike Burgoine, who helped with the recruitment for DeepMind and SwiftKey. A great recruiter goes a long way when it comes to finding strong candidates.”


 CEO challenges

How will the tech industry evolve in 2017, and how will your business be impacted? To share your perspective, take SVB’s annual Startup Outlook Survey.