Eileen Burbidge – Partner, Passion Capital & Tech City UK Chair
Boasting an MBE and a ‘special envoy’ status from the British Treasury, Eileen Burbidge’s CV reads like the who’s who of technology with the likes of Apple, Skype, and Sun Microsystems. With Prime Minister David Cameron hailing her ‘knowledge and experience of the digital landscape’, Burbidge was appointed as Chair of Tech City UK in 2015, replacing Baroness Joanna Shields. Tech City UK use targeted programmes such as Future Fifty alongside thought leadership, roundtables, surveys and reports to help accelerate the growth of London and the UK’s digital economy. Commenting on her appointment, Burbidge said:
“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.”
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. Members of the advisory panel include Alex Chesterman, CEO Zoopla and Taavet Hinrikus, CEO Transferwise.
Her role at Tech City UK complements her day-to-day role as founder and partner of Passion Capital, an early stage venture capital firm. Both roles seek to develop and grow start-ups, with Passion Capital counting companies such as adzuna among the companies invested in.
It has been well publicised that Burbidge does not regard herself as a ‘women in tech’, preferring, to be identified as an ‘advisor’, ‘angel investor in tech’, ‘product person’ or ‘business development lead.’ In a post in 2010 she stated that she was ‘so sick of this “woman thing” and stated:
“I don’t have an issue with having more women in tech, and I generally agree that it would improve some products, companies, businesses and achievements. So I don’t think there shouldn’t be more women in tech, I’m just not sure there’s an actual problem with our current progress — given where the industry has come from and the fact that tech as an industry is better than most when it comes to gender neutrality and having a merit-based ecosystem.”
As an investor, Burbidge judges outcomes and actions – neither of which is impacted by gender. Her stance on women in tech could be seen as the ultimate in equality and diversity – male or female, it doesn’t matter.
Here we move from one women who started in Silicon Valley, to another who wants to make the UK the Silicon Valley of Europe.