Eileen Burbidge New Tech City Chair

eileen

Four months after Baroness Shields stepped down as chair of Tech City UK, they have finally appointed a replacement: superstar VC and emerging queen of the UK tech scene Eileen Burbidge. Eileen’s appointment is a significant coup for an organisation that is widely regarded as something of a joke in the London tech community and is still reeling from the Walter Mitty accusations now being leveled at their previous chair Joanna.

Burbidge told Techno that she was looking forward to taking the organisation to the “next level“:

“Hopefully given my operational experience at tech corporates such as Apple, Sun and Yahoo! as well as startups such as Skype and others in silicon valley combined with my experience in working with startup founders now I can raise the bar in terms of what TechCity initiatives and programmes will genuinely add value — and be of impact to the already fast growing but very crucial sector.” 

Come on Eileen…

Tech City Chair Runner and Riders

TECH CITY CHAIR

With Joanna Shields stepping down as chair of TechCity, the door is open for fresh blood at Digital Dave’s tech quango. As promised, here are Techno’s runners and riders.

Ben Southworth

King of the Shoreditch tech hipsters, Ben Southworth is still smarting about his “resignation” as deputy CEO from Tech City UK in 2013. No one is more determined to prove that they are still a force to be reckoned with in East London tech.

Milo Yiannopoulos

A long time critic of the Tech City operation, who could be better to breath some fire into the flagging quango than the flamboyant pit bull of tech media who has branded Tech City a “cheap PR exercise“.

Rohan Silva

Rumour has it that Rohan Silva, founder of groovy SecondHome and the original brains behind the Tech City project is eager to get the government quango back on track. He would certainly be welcomed back into the government fold with open arms. Pretty sure he would not want the job.

James Cook

Young tech journalist superstar James Cook is highly regarded in the European tech scene, though he does have a reputation for leaving hapless young CEOs in tears. Mr Cook has confirmed to Techno that he will be putting himself forward for the job if his mum lets him.

Eileen Burbidge

What better way for superstar VC Eileen Burbidge to officially crown herself as queen of London tech, than by accepting the Tech City chair. Techno will be amazed if she isn’t the number one on the government’s hit list.

Joanna Shields Shuffled Upstairs as New Internet Safety Minister

Joanna Shields-1

Digital Dave’s technology guru Joanna Shields has left her role as chair of Tech City UK and will be shuffled upstairs as the new Minister for Internet Safety and Security. Baroness Shields, who once headed up Bebo, Facebook Europe and Google for Europe, Middle East and Africa, left the private sector at the peak of her career to take up a cushy £115,000 job as CEO of Tech City. Cynics have suggested that Shields planned on using the role as a stepping stone for feathering a seats-on-boards-of-companies nest…

Shields’ three year tenure as CEO saw her bolster her reputation for turning up to government meetings with perfectly coiffed hair and expensive shoes, while the taxpayer-funded Tech City conitinued on a mildly successful PR campaign to rebrand East London as Britain’s Silicon Valley. The PM duly rewarded Shields for her service with a Peerage, and now she’s in government. Keep an eye out for Techno’s runners and riders to be the new chair…

Tech City Funding Pulled

tech city

Digital Dave’s pet technology quango Tech City is on the verge of having its funding pulled following a rift between the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Joanna Shields, the chair of Tech City UK. According to Tech World, BIS have finally had enough of dolling out £2 million of taxpayer cash a year to what has turned out to be nothing more than an expensive PR project.

Astonishingly, Innovate UK, another BIS quango will fund Tech City out of their £400m budget. Is there no way to unhook them from the state’s teat?

Tech City Spinning Visa Failure

tech city

Following revelations that the government’s inept technology quango Tech City had only managed to dole out 7 of its allocated 200 Exceptional Talent visas, their Chairwoman Baroness Shields has surfaced in the Times to explain things. Apparently the failure to get more than 10 people to apply for the valuable visas is a sign of the UK being a “global tech hub”:

With nine individuals accepted since launch, the figure of 200 is not a target but rather a maximum allowance. This is testament to the UK’s leadership as a global tech hub considering this is the first year for the visa route.

Funny then, that Shields’ taxpayer funded organisation refused to admit how many visas they had allocated until they were forced to do so by an FOI. The equivalent US Visa scheme was oversubscribed by 87,500…

Government’s ‘Tech City’ Can’t Even Bribe Skilled Workers With Visas

tech city

The government’s hipster technology quango Tech City were granted special powers to award 200 highly-skilled workers one of the Home Office’s Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas, of which only 1,000 are available. They only managed to award seven…

The pathetic figure has come to light following an FOI request, raising fears that the tax-payer funded Tech City is completely out of touch with the East London technology community that it claims to represent. Even it’s untarnished reputation for effectively hyping London’s app makers is now under fire – it only managed to attract only ten applications for the golden tickets. How’s that ‘Europe’s Silicon Valley’ thing working out for you…

NHS Used to Lure US Tech Firms to Britain

us tech companies

The government is trying to attract US tech companies to the UK by tempting them with the prospect of being treated on the NHS as part of the “expat experience”. Alongside access to free healthcare, US companies who take advantage of the UK Trade & Investment’s HQ-UK project are being offered exclusive perks such 24 hour processing for visa applications, a complete concierge service to manage the transition of the company and a relationship manager to help newly-arrived firms get connected. Whether the lure of waiting in a NHS walk-in centre is enough to tempt the yanks away from Ireland’s 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate is yet to be seen…

Tech City Quango Admit London Is Not Centre of Tech World

roundabout

Tech City, Digital Dave’s pet quango, is usually rather adept in its role as a taxpayer funded PR company for digital businesses in East London. Since it was set up in 2010, they have claimed their cluster of digital start ups near Old Street roundabout is one of the UK’s greatest success story and a driver of London’s economy.

With this in mind, the Tech Nation report released today makes for refreshingly honest reading. It reports that 74% of British digital companies are based outside of London. Crucially, ‘tech clusters’ with a higher than average turnover growth since 2010 – the year Tech City started banging the drum for London – include Manchester, Belfast and even Sheffield.

Maybe there is something to that Northern Powerhouse after all… what with the significantly cheaper rent.

UPDATE: George Osborne has just tweeted:

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