It’s been about two years since I left Google following the AdMob acquisition and as I forecast here at the time (http://mobhappy.com/blog1/2011/03/30/on-a-personal-note/) I’ve been practicing a portfolio career of being a very active angel investor (Ballpark Ventures has about 25 investments), mentoring at Springboard (soon to be TechStars), doing various Speaking gigs and being a Non-Exec Director of a handful of more mature UK businesses.
To sum up this little role, I wrote:
So, trying to draw this together in one cogent theme, I’m planning to spend the next 10 years helping the UK to become a world class part of the tech scene and one which regularly produces mega-successes like the next Twitter, the next Facebook or the next Amazon. There’s plenty of reasons why The Valley has the advantage over us – early stage funding and a huge natural early adopter market, are my personal bugbears. But if we think big and harness the creativity and talent available, I believe it’s a realisable dream.
I’m delighted to say that I’ve been offered the opportunity to help realise this vision on a more macro-scale, by joining the UK Government’s Venture Capital Unit. The remit of the Unit is to help UK companies attract funding from abroad and thus help resolve the funding gap I was writing about above. My focus will be on tech companies, though the Unit as a whole (headed by veteran entrepreneur Chris Wade) embraces Clean Tech, Life Sciences and Hardware.
To be quite frank, it is the only job that anyone could have offered me that I would have accepted at this stage in my career. It fits perfectly with my personal mission, so when I was approached about the role it didn’t need a lot of thinking about and I find the opportunity to make a real difference to the UK tech scene very exciting.
In the first instance, my focus will be on developing a portfolio of the very best UK tech companies to showcase what a fantastic place the UK already is. And in time, my new colleagues and I will use our best efforts to help find overseas investors, to complement the UK investment community, to help these companies flourish. If you run such a company, or know of anyone who should be on this prestigious list, drop me a line here Russell AT mobhappy DOT com and we’ll get the ball rolling.