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What3words says post-Brexit tech hiring space is ‘a lot slicker’ than expected

Chris Sheldrick, What3words, London, 14/09/21

The boss of tech firm What3words chief said that the post-Brexit recruitment landscape has been “a lot slicker” then he anticipated when building a global team in London.

In an interview with City A.M., Chris Sheldrick, who heads up the global address system, said that the capital continued to be a great place to build a business thanks to its rich pool of talent and international appeal.

“The new laws around visas have actually made it a lot slicker than I think we may have anticipated it would be post Brexit to grow our team,” he told City A.M..

Earlier this year, the government introduced skilled work visas, which start-ups can use to bring talent from overseas. This replaced the Tier 2 (General) Visa, providing a much smoother process.

Founded in 2013, What3words is a piece of tech that has divided the world into three metre squares, naming each one with three words from the dictionary, making navigation much “simpler and precise”.

So rather than saying meet me at Southwark station, you can share the exact location you are at with a unique three words that are unique from anywhere else on the globe. For instance, you can say “lines.swing.crew” to show how you’re just round the corner by the bus stop.

The firm was valued £250m back in 2020, but has gone from strength to strength since then, says Sheldrick.

While navigation may have come to standstill during the pandemic, What3words was lifted by the surge in online deliveries and more innovative uses – from the emergency services allowing ambulances to find people in the most remote locations, to helping people find their tents at a festival.

Sheldrick told City A.M. that the main focus now was on global expansion, especially in Asia, utilising the 54 languages it has now been translated into.

“For us, it’s about taking our success from the UK and now saying, let’s replicate that abroad”.

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