The Founder Reshuffle – appointing the tech Cabinet of the UK

Orla Browne, July 25, 2019 4 min read

As Britain transitions to a new Prime Minister and is installing a new ministerial top tier, we imagined our fantasy Cabinet, made up exclusively of UK tech founders. In our own re-shuffle we’ve sourced the most innovative, disruptive, and delivery-focussed leaders in UK business to join the Privy Council. We think it’s a pretty stellar lineup, reflecting cross-sector national strengths, and a healthy measure of tech for good. Here are our picks for the new Cabinet, if they weren’t all too busy building high-growth global tech companies, that is…

Chancellor of the Exchequer – With over 35 years’ financial services experience that brought her to Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Chartered, UBS, ABN AMRO, RBS and Allied Irish Banks, before setting up leading UK challenger bank Starling, we’re installing founder Anne Boden at No. 11. 

Home Secretary – As a refugee herself, who’s built a tech for good business to support un and underemployed refugees into the workforce, Chatterbox founder Mursal Hedayat should have a unique perspective at the Home Office.

Foreign Secretary Transferwise’s origin story is basically a lesson in international cooperation. Co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann started their crowdfunded currency exchange network as a two-person arrangement between the UK and Estonia, and now anyone in the world can reap the benefits of their innovation. So Taavet Hinrikus at the Foreign Office please.

Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – Inventor and innovator James Dyson has long been a believer in Brexit, and has plenty of international business experience to back him up at DExEU. 

Secretary of Defence – If the future of warfare is cyber, we’d like some very clever AI-powered security at Defence. Darktrace founder Poppy Gustafsson should do the trick.

Justice Secretary – The legal sector is ripe for innovation, just ask our Justice Secretary (and SeedLegals founder) Anthony Rose.

Secretary of State for Health and Social CareTamara Rajah’s ecommerce platform Live Better With has been improving the lives of those living with cancer since 2015. Health Secretary material we think.

Education Secretary – UK Edtech as with UK education is a class leader, and BridgeU work to help young people around the world reach their educational potential. From empowering schools through business, co-founder Lucy Stonehill can help empower them from public office too.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Building an exciting business with some of the coolest tech in the industry, in the city with the highest tech productivity in the UK (Bristol), we’re appointing Reach RoboticsSilas Adekunle at BEIS.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsOlio’s food-sharing platform is tackling our colossal food waste problem, saving the environment and building a strong like-minded community of responsible consumers. Tessa Clarke, you’ve got the job.

Transport SecretaryCitymapper co-founder Azmet Yusuf is already successfully making transport and travel faster, easier, cheaper and more efficient in over 40 global cities. The UK Transport Secretary job should be a piece of cake.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Trussle have been using technology to make mortgages fairer and more transparent, helping lower income earners get on the property ladder. Founder Ishaan Malhi should be able to put his expertise to good use at Housing. 

Secretary of State for International Development – ‘Invest in change’ might be Tickr’s motto but it could work just as well at the Department for International Development. Helping next generation investors make a positive impact as they earn, their platform lets you start doing good from as little as £5 invested. Co-founder Tom McGillycuddy can be our Development Sec.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – Bath-based MoveGB have been getting Britain moving with the flexible freedom on their multi-venue gym and fitness class memberships. Founder Alister Rollins should be able to do some good work at DCMS.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Having built a job search engine listing over 1.1m jobs in the UK alone, Adzuna co-founder Doug Monro should be suitably qualified for the Department of Work and Pensions.

Secretary of State for Scotland – A no-brainer for the Scotland brief would be founder of Scotland’s first unicorn, who’s also been integral to the booming tech success north of the border, Skyscanner’s Gareth Williams.

Secretary of State for Wales – Apologies for the earworm, GoCompare founder Hayley Parsons is the obvious choice for Secretary of State for Wales. Having worked at Admiral where she built Confused.com, Parsons since started one of Wales’ biggest tech companies, as well as becoming an investor and mentor for early-stage startups in Cymru.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Having joined Kainos 30 years ago and worked his way up to CEO, Brendan Mooney is an investor in people, training and employing thousands in digital tech in Belfast and Derry alone, as well as 12 other cities internationally.

Leader of the House of Lords – As a member of the Lords already, Baroness Lane-Fox should be well placed for this role, and her track record as founder of Last Minute and DotEveryone speaks for itself. She also sits on the boards of Twitter, the Donmar Warehouse and Chanel, giving her one of the coolest CVs in the Cabinet. 

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – As a cabinet minister basically without portfolio, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster gets a broad remit to pursue different important objectives of their choosing. These days DeepMind’s neural nets have applications in everything from Gaming to Health, while also doing important work in AI and data ethics, so Demis Hassabis should be perfect for the job.

What a team this lot would make. Who would be your founder picks for the UK Cabinet? Let us know @TechNation.

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