invstr Meets : Eileen Burbidge
Welcome to invstr meets, where invstr introduces you to big names within the business world ranging from investors, market commentators and top level analysts, to entrepreneurs, authors, professors and more.
Eileen Burbidge, Partner at Passion Capital, a London top VC firm, tells us about her role as a tech investor. Here she explains why she is passionate about FinTech and what the future holds for FinTech, as well as discussing why London is such a fantastic place for financial technology companies.
Eileen Burbidge is a Partner at Passion Capital, the pre-eminent early-stage VC fund based in London. She brings extensive operational experience to her investment activities gleaned from business and product roles at Yahoo!, Skype, Apple and elsewhere.
In addition to Passion Capital, Eileen is also the Chair of TechCity UK, which is the British government-backed organisation supporting digital business across the UK. She is also HM Treasury’s Special Envoy for FinTech appointed by then Chancellor George Osborne; Tech Ambassador for the Mayor of London’s office and served on former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group.
Burbidge’s appointment was part of George Osborne’s plans to improve productivity in the UK, which have been published days after the Summer Budget. While employment in the UK is at a record high, output per hour worked — a measure of the value of work people are doing — hasn’t risen in line with employment.
The Chancellor wanted to encourage high-tech and high-value industries like fintech to try and address this problem. The Treasury is also creating a fintech benchmark to measure how the UK is doing compared to other nations.
Burbidge says: “They [the Treasury] think the financial services sector is a really big part of improving the nations productivity and that’s not such a leap if you look at history. We’ve already had such a big benefit coming from the financial services industry and it makes sense not just to recognize, but to also reinforce that.
“For me, the great thing is that they’ve recognized how much is going to come from the tech and digital. Finance is changing, as are so many other sectors. They want to increase competition in the banking sector, they want to support the tech sector to encourage more innovation and skill, [and] they want to make sure that regulation and taxation are in the right proportion.”
Eileen was made an MBE for services to Business in June 2015 and holds a BSc Engineering degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A rundown on Passion Capital
Passion Capital is a London-based early stage venture capital firm, which started in March 2011 as a private-public hybrid fund with an initial fund of $60mn – of which $40mn was from the UK government. The fund partners were Stefan Glaenzer, Eileen Burbidge and Robert Dighero, who were described as being among Europe’s most prolific investors in the publication ‘VentureBeat’.
Besides their company interests, Passion Capital has pioneered transparency initiatives with relatio to both company operation and to investment. In June 2013, they announced that they would have a “plain English term sheet” eschewing the use of legal jargon, and put up their sample sheet online. Passion Capital also publishes information annually on the status of it’s current and past investments, as well as it’s average salaries and other expenses.
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