FanDuel, WANdisco and DevsOpsGroup founders join Tech Nation board

Tech experts aim to help the next generation of startups and scale-ups

Tech Nation has added five of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs to its board to help it accelerate the growth of the UK's digital tech sector.

It has brought in Lesley Eccles, co-founder of FanDuel, Adam Hale, chairman of DevOps group, Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, David Richards, founder and CEO of WANdisco and Sarah Wood, the co-founder of Unruly.

The organisation also welcomed back former board members Wendy Tan White and Tim Luke in its board refresh, expanding the board to nine members as it plans to further boost the prospects of the UK tech sector, which has seen dramatic growth in the last seven years.

"Tech Nation has ambitious plans to step up its support of UK entrepreneurs in digital tech and to build digital skills and connect expertise across the country to make sure we continue to be a global tech powerhouse," said Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech Nation.

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The entrepreneurs said they joined to help new startups and tech innovators along the path they had travelled.

"Building a business takes courage, grit, smarts and resilience. If you have a network of advisors who have been there and done it before you, that will make your path easier," Lesley Eccles, co-founder of FanDuel, said. "It is immensely gratifying to be able to share some of what you have learned along the way to help others scale the heights."

Emma Jones, founder, Enterprise Nation, added: "Ambitious entrepreneurs are the backbone of the UK's digital tech sector and are the key to us retaining global leadership of this industry. Tech Nation's work to support these risk takers is vital and I can't wait to get started working with the talent that is future-proofing our economy."

Tech Nation's role was expanded by the government last year to encompass the entire UK, not simply London, and revealed that Britain's tech sector is growing 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy in May, and is worth 184 billion.

Chair Eileen Burbidge, who is a partner at Passion Capital and HM Treasury's special envoy on fintech, said: "One of the best things about the UK tech industry is that those who have already had success are willing to pay it back and work with others to make their ambitions come true.

"I'm looking forward to our new board continuing to inspire and help accelerate the next generation of UK digital tech talent."

The latest research from Tech Nation and market intelligence firm Dealroom shows that the UK received $7.8 billion in VC funding last year, which is more than Germany, France and Sweden combined.

The UK also boasts 37% of Europe's unicorns, numbering 13 private sector businesses valued at at least $1 billion. Together the 13 companies have a potential value of $23 billion and a further 51 companies have been identified by Dealroom as possible unicorns, with values ranging from $250 million to $1 billion.

Hale, chairman of DevOpsGroup and former CEO of Fairsail, said: "As someone whose company has benefitted from Tech Nation's Future Fifty, I'm delighted to be joining Eileen and Gerard as they broaden Tech Nation's important work connecting and supporting ambitious entrepreneurs, right across the country."

David Richards, founder and CEO of WANdisco, added: "Digital businesses are outperforming the wider economy, but there's no room for complacency. We must look to build on this success.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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