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The Loss of Depop to US Ownership Casts a Pall over the UK’s Tech Industry

Depop, the fashion resale app, has followed in the footsteps of other British tech businesses such as Arm Holdings and DeepMind in seeking financing outside of the country.based in London was purchased by Brooklyn-based Etsy for $1.6 billion (£1.1 billion) last week, only days after WaveOptics, an Oxford-based developer of displays for augmented-reality glasses, was purchased for $500 million by the Santa Monica-based owner of Snapchat.

Depop may not be as essential to the UK economy as companies like Arm or Imagination Technologies, both of which were purchased by foreign investors. However, the majority of its 30 million members — a figure that has tripled in less than three years are under the age of 26 and represent the future of retail: increasingly online, sustainable, and social.

London bragged about getting Deliveroo’s IPO, despite the stock’s dismal performance reflecting worries over the wellbeing of the company’s thousands of delivery drivers. With Depop now in the hands of Etsy, British businesses have no clear method of following in the footsteps of John Lewis and subsequently Marks & Spencer, which both invested in Ocado, allowing them to purchase their way into the fast-growing world of online food shopping.

Depop began as a triumphant story for the United Kingdom. Simon Beckerman launched the company in Italy in 2011 but relocated it to London in 2015 after receiving $8 million in backing from Balderton Capital, a UK-based investment firm that has previously funded Betfair and Figleaves, an online lingerie retailer.The company currently has offices in New York and Sydney, but it is still headquartered in the United Kingdom, where it developed a brand based on British fashion trends, from Burberry coats and chunky trainers suited for a Spice Girl to Y2K designs originated in London and Manchester clubs.

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