Tech City UK Blog

Eileen Burbidge, founding partner at Passion Capital, joins as Chair with four new Board members and a newly formed Entrepreneur Advisory Panel. Burbidge succeeds Baroness Joanna Shields, who was appointed Minister for Internet Safety and Security by the Prime Minister David Cameron in May 2015.

Burbidge will work closely with CEO Gerard Grech to define and develop the long-term vision of Tech City UK. Liaising directly with political representatives as well as those working within the digital sector, she will work to amplify Tech City UK’s efforts in accelerating the growth of digital clusters across the whole of the UK.

Burbidge is a founding partner at early stage venture capital firm Passion Capital, and was also recently appointed to the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group as well as the UK Government’s Special Envoy for Fintech.

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In addition to Burbidge, new additions to the Tech City UK Board include:

  • Robin Klein, Founding Partner at the LocalGlobe fund, previously with Index Ventures and founding partner of The Accelerator Group
  • Tim Luke, Vice President of Technology, Media & Telecoms at Barclays UK, and UK Business Ambassador for the Technology and Finance sectors appointed by the Prime Minister David Cameron
  • Wendy Tan-White, Co-Founder and former CEO of website builder Moonfruit. Wendy currently sits on the Imperial College Industrial Liaison Board, is a 500 Startups mentor, and in 2011 was named female UK Tech Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Yonca Brunini, VP Marketing Google for Europe, Middle East and Africa and emerging markets, previously also with Unilever and Yahoo!

The aforementioned new appointees join existing board members:

  • Herb Kim, Founder and CEO of Thinking Digital, Tech North Executive Chair and founder of the TEDx events series in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, will continue his service on the Board
  • Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, will continue his service on the board

The Tech City UK Board works to ensure good governance within the organisation. Each board member brings extensive experience working within the UK’s digital landscape as well as engaging with senior policymakers. Additional board appointments will be announced in coming months.

Since taking the role as chair, Burbidge has established Tech City UK’s Entrepreneur Advisory Panel, which includes some of the UK’s most successful digital entrepreneurs, to provide strategic counsel for the organisation. Specifically, the Panel will work alongside the senior Tech City UK team to share their experience and ensure the right mechanisms exist to support UK’s startups scale-ups.

The first members the Tech City UK Entrepreneur Advisory Panel include:

Tech City UK was established in 2010 by the Prime Minister David Cameron as part of a government-backed effort to support the emerging digital cluster in East London. In 2014, its remit was adapted to address the wider UK digital economy, as the team developed a strategy to take the success story of London’s digital business ecosystem worldwide. Tech City UK has delivered a number of impactful programmes designed to accelerate the development of digital businesses at every stage of their growth, including (among others):

  • Digital Business Academy, which provides online courses for individuals who want to start, join or grow a digital business
  • Future Fifty, a tailored support programme for Britain’s fastest growing digital businesses
  • Tech Nation, a comprehensive research project analysing the strength, depth and specialisms of the UK digital economy
  • Tech North, accelerating the development of the North’s digital economy through the promotion and support of digital entrepreneurship
  • HQUK, an initiative aiming to ease UK expansion for US tech companies

Commenting on the appointment, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Digital business and the rapid developments in technology are a key part of our long-term economic plan to support the industries of the future – creating jobs and building a more resilient economy. Eileen Burbidge will be a fantastic appointment, her knowledge and experience of the digital landscape will ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of this innovative industry.”

Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Digital Economy, comments, “This government is committed to fuelling the growth of Britain’s digital industries in order to create jobs, increase productivity and raise the profile of the UK as a global home of technology. Through her work with some of the world’s most successful technology companies and many of the fastest-growing in the UK, Eileen is an influential figure in London’s emergence as a leading tech hub. The joint team of Eileen as Chair and Gerard as CEO, together with such a diverse and experienced board and the new Entrepreneur Advisory Panel, will continue to provide the strong international leadership structure to support this key sector and position the UK at the forefront of digital innovation.”



Eileen Burbidge, Chair, Tech City UK, comments, “I first moved to London in 2004 to join the team at a very young Skype. Since then, the UK’s technology scene has changed beyond all recognition, and has certainly benefitted in recent years from the efforts of the Tech City UK organisation. From my role at Passion Capital, I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact that Gerard and his team can make for digital businesses at all stages. I’m hugely excited to be joining and look forward to ushering in the next phase of the Tech City UK success story to deliver even greater impact and uplift for the digital economy in Britain.”

Gerard Grech, CEO, Tech City UK, comments, “With Baroness Shields’ support and guidance on programmes such as the Digital Business Academy, Future Fifty, Tech Nation and HQ-UK, the UK has firmly established its position as a digital innovation powerhouse. Building on that legacy, we welcome Eileen as Chair. Her excellent credentials and extensive experience mark her out as one of the leading figures within the UK’s digital community.

“I am also privileged to have Robin, Tim, Wendy and Yonca joining the board. Their governance and guidance along with the new Entrepreneur Advisory Panel means we can readily tap into the experiences and minds of some of the UK’s most successful digital entrepreneurs and influencers to validate our plans and ideas.”