On Fire: Gerald Brady, Managing Director, SVB Network at SVB Financial Group

Today for the On Fire podcast we’re catching up with Gerald Brady, Managing Director, SVB Network at SVB Financial Group, a long-term supporter of the Tech Trailblazers Awards. Chief Trailblazer Rose Ross quizzes him about the variety of roles he’s held over the years and how he’s now in a position to have a finger on the pulse of the innovation economy.

Gerald also shares his views about how COVID has changed working and startups themselves, and how businesses have woken up to the fact that working from home needn’t ruin productivity. He also makes predictions for what will happen in the world of technology over the next 10 years. Will quantum computers be a thing?

Plus, there is exciting, exclusive news about the Tech Trailblazers Awards. Watch the full podcast here:


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Interview transcript:

Rose Ross: Hello everyone, and welcome to the On Fire Tech Trailblazers Podcast. We’re taking a slightly different turn today, normally we speak with judges, although to be advised with regards to this for the Judges on Fire and the Founders on Fire video and podcast.

I’m delighted to welcome somebody that we’ve known for a long time, and who has always been very-very supportive of what we’re doing here at the Tech Trailblazers, but we may have news that he may be getting slightly more involved. It’s Gerald Brady who is joining us from Silicon Valley Bank. Hello Gerald, how are you?

Gerald Brady: Rose, hi, great to see you. Happy afternoon to you, good morning anyone in the US.

Rose Ross: Happy morning to you. Obviously, still working from home unless the Silicon Valley Bank offices have changed a little bit since the last time we met.

Gerald Brady: Still at home.

Rose Ross: Very good. One of the things we’d like to do – or I’d like to do, is to find out a little bit more about yourself, and then talk a little bit about Silicon Valley Bank. Most people I would imagine who are listening to this if they’re familiar with the tech startup world will be familiar with Silicon Valley Bank. But I always think it’s nice to get a little bit of an update, and perhaps an internal perspective from your viewpoint because you’ve been there for a little while.

So, if you’d like to tell us a little bit about who you are, where you come from, and what you’re doing there at Silicon Valley Bank.

Gerald Brady: Sure. I think my career falls bluntly into three quite distinct buckets, all within technology but within different parts of the technology ecosystem. I started in sales in the tech world and then joined a startup called Yahoo in ’96, which was really my first experience of moving into the startup world. That was a great exposure, and obviously being part of Yahoo in ’96 was a great experience and seeing the inside of a high-growth company.

Then, I joined 3i and that was the shift into venture. I’d come out of business school. I went to Cranfield and joined 3i out of business school and that was really an incredible learning experience, and really the 3i model of learning by doing, and that exposure to all the startups that you could see. Of course at that point, there was no specialisation in the UK, you were just doing tech deals and whatever came across your desk. At that point 3i and Apax were the dominant investors in the UK and Europe.

Then I was very fortunate, in 2000 they asked me if I’d like to move to the US as part of the office opening in San Francisco, they had an office in Boston as well. We made the move in the peak of the market to San Francisco, we saw the boom and bust pretty quickly. And what was really interesting about that was again, recognising you’re within a startup inside a corporate, in a new market, and also really in the heart of Silicon Valley. So, suddenly there was a lot of learning as we can touch on there, of just doing that experience.

Then in ’03 I left and went to Siemens and ran the early-stage venture group for Siemens in the States, and again now another step inside a mammoth corporate with at the time 400,000 staff.

Then in late 2009 I joined Silicon Valley Bank who I’ve known from both my 3i and Siemens days. The bank has just been an incredible experience in terms of funding innovation economy, our own growth, and we’re continuing as a 40-year-old company, almost, to grow like a startup at the moment. So, we’ve had an incredible experience, we’ve gone into more industry sectors, we’ve added geographies, we’ve added products, so we’ve been a great story as a 40-year-old business and that’s been fantastic. We’re very fortunate, we’re a full bank as you know in the UK, Rose, and then operating in other countries in Europe and Israel, and we’re a full bank in China as well. Today, we’re banking about half of all venture back companies in the States and about 70 percent of VC firms, so we’ve a good finger on the pulse of what we think’s happening in the innovation economy.

Rose Ross: Definitely, and I know you do some good reports in that sort of sector as well, looking at the trends there coming up, and I’m going to grill you on some of the things that you’re seeing coming through. So, you’ve talked a little bit about Silicon Valley Bank, can you explain – because you’ve got an interesting role within the bank as well haven’t you?

Gerald Brady: I have yes, and over the years I’ve held a variety of different roles. For the last five years, I’ve been building our CxO community, focusing on the CIO, CTO, Chief Security Officer and that network, and how we help connect the venture community and our clients to prospective buyers, and that connective tissue between startup world and corporate world. And you understand this Rose, sometimes it’s two companies, or two organisations, two individuals, speaking a foreign language. How do you sell as a startup to a large corporate? How do you as a large corporate work effectively with a startup? And just trying to help each other understand the way that they interact, which doesn’t sound hard but can be pretty challenging. And again just even scale, recognising that a startup can make a decision like that, and a big company isn’t going to move that fast; they have processes and procedures, whether it’s regulatory scrutiny etc. to go through compliance etc.

So, we’re really helping that bridge, but what’s interesting is that the big companies recognise increasingly, they need help and often the big technology suppliers that they’ve worked with for years, just aren’t going to be able to help them with some of the modern technology solutions they’re looking for. It’s been a great experience, it’s been great fun building that community with the bank, and we’re doing that with many of our venture friends as well.

Rose Ross: Yes, it’s a very interesting challenge. It’s something that I’ve been banging on about, boring everybody with, my view on the importance of not just the VC as a source of funding, that actually one of your biggest investors is your customers, particularly if you’ve got large ones. So, that’s very exciting and I look forward to hearing more about what’s happening there. So, you really do have your finger on the pulse with both the VC side of things, and also what’s happening for enterprise technology decision makers, which is super important for the startups that we’re talking to.

From that perspective, we talked a little bit last year about some of the trends that you were seeing, obviously AI, machine learning were some of the things that you picked up on as being very important and was very much born out when we look at the submissions to our AI category. The AI Trailblazers has gone up the leader board considerably and is now nibbling at the heels of security and cloud, but we’re also seeing that there’s a lot of AI in all of those other categories as well, and the role that’s playing in that. It’s all become a little bit more of a fusion, where AI is pervading into all aspects of that.

Gerald Brady: Yes.

Rose Ross: So, aside from that, what do you see as being interesting, what’s the burning challenges that you are seeing within your CIO and CxO community that you’re chatting with?

Gerald Brady: We can riff on this as much as you want Rose. I think one of the things that’s interesting is, the pre-COVID conversation and where we are today. You’ve probably seen the cartoon of what drove your digital transformation, was it the CIO or COVID? And I think for a lot of large organisations COVID has really been the accelerator, it’s really forced a lot of change in terms of both technology adoption, the speed of technology adoption, but also – and this is where I think we’ve seen a lot of shift, around a remote workforce. We’ve all, whether we like it or not, lived on Zoom for the last 15 months, we’ve all worked from home, certainly for me, since March last year I’ve visited the office once in just over a year, and I’m not sure when I’ll next go back into the office.

What that has done is it’s driven the adoption of things like collaboration tools, we were very fortunate as an organisation, we’d moved to Microsoft Teams the year before, but I think for a lot of companies the first thing they were focused on, other than employee safety, was what tools have we got that we need in place. So, whether it was video-conferencing system, collaboration tools, remote collaboration tools, even things like Wi-Fi for employees; if an employee has got the right infrastructure at home, how they got the right Wi-Fi st up at home, and then all of the ancillary things that come with that, Rose; what security vulnerabilities have we now got because we’ve got a different attack vector now – everyone’s at home, the vulnerability of the laptop at home etc.

So, I think we have seen first and foremost an enormous boom in enterprise software. If you look at what happened in the venture industry from March last year, and this is pretty much true around the world, when COVID hit and we all went into lockdown in Europe and the US, we all assumed this could be a pretty bad scenario for everything, and in reality the venture deals slowed for about six or eight weeks, no more than that. And then people started seeing many corporates are still spending, they’re having to invest in technology, laptop sales were just staggering, there’s one company we talked to who said they had 50,000 people around the world in call centres… so, everyone would come into an office with a desktop PC for call centres and said, ‘We had to order of 50,000 laptops and get them installed in people’s homes within a week.’

So, you’ve seen this massive surge of technology sales, laptop sales were through the roof last year. So, it’s been quite a staggering year to see some of the growth in enterprises. That’s not to say it’s been great for everyone, and I recognise that it’s clearly been an incredibly challenging year for everyone. Maybe off topic for a second Rose, but I do think the one other thing that I’ve heard CIOs and CTOs and senior corporate executives talk about more than anything, has been employee welfare and mental health through this. I think they’ve recognised that first and foremost, are the employees okay, are they really doing okay? And so you’ve started to see more companies employ tools like Calm, and other mental health tools. There’s much more check-ins going on through emails, and companies just saying, ‘Okay, you’re remote. Are you okay, are your family okay?’ and I think the work/life balance conversation has been, ‘Well, am I working from home, or living at work?’ And I think that’s been interesting for companies because we’ve all gone through it, this has not discriminated across the workforce, not everyone in every position has really had a good time through this. So again, just trying to make sure employees are okay.

So, you’ve seen the CIOs and CTOs get involved in tools and applications like Calm etc. in the workforce, which you wouldn’t normally see a CIO saying, ‘Hey! We need to be looking at these tools,’ but they really have been doing that now.

Rose Ross: Yes, that is interesting, I use Headspace personally but obviously the same ilk. And I think it is really important, and in fact we’ve just had last week Mental Health Week. It’s really important and that’s interesting because It’s also very prevalent in the startup community as well, because they are kind of adrenaline, living on Red Bull type of scenarios where it’s a very-very fast pace. One of the reasons they can maintain it is because they have that team element. When you remove that team element you’re in a weird… like the legs are still spinning round, then suddenly you realise where is everybody else – what’s going on? Being disconnected when you’re trying to put so much effort into something is pretty interesting.

Having spoken to a lot of people, everybody’s had good times, everybody’s had bad times, and if you are part of a team then hopefully you balance one-another out. And this takes us onto an interesting part of another conversation we were having before I pressed record, was around the whole diversity element and diversity of teams. So, I don’t know, is that a good segue, or would you like to say a little bit more?

Gerald Brady: Sure. It’s a great segue. I live in the US, Rose, and so there’s just no denying the impact of Black Lives Matter in the US last year, and the tragic events, I think, really affected a lot of people here, and I think it’s really propelled, accelerated, the conversations inside organisations with friends about just the disparity of growing up if you’re of another colour, other than me who’s a white middle-aged guy in America. And that’s really interesting. I also think, particularly in the last few months here, we’ve also not just seen the rise in Black Lives Matter, but also I’m really shocked to see it; the Asian hate crimes in America, and that’s been a shock for many people to see and experience that.

So, I do think that these conversations and awareness have mattered way more than ever before. We’re certainly talking about it as an organisation, I think that the funds are talking about it, there’s a much more concerted effort about saying we as corporates have a role in this, we stand by our colleagues, we talk about allyship. But it’s also, what do we do other than talk about this? How do we change the conversation, how do we encourage more diverse founders? When I talk about diversity it’s all aspects of diversity, it’s gender, it’s sexual orientation, it’s skin colour, neurodiversity we’ve talked about. We’ve got to represent the whole world, it’s not just me, and that we need to be both funding and supporting.

It’s also not just the entrepreneurs, but it’s also the investors need to also be representative. I’m talking to you as a woman, Rose, but I think there’s less than three percent of investors are female still. Women still raise a very small percentage of venture funding. Again, there’s plenty of stories here, but where female executives pitch an all-male audience about a product, often it’s like well of course you’re not going to understand it, you’re not my audience.

So, I do think we’re clearly seeing much more focus in terms of the funds themselves diversifying their investors. The LPs – the limited partners in funds – are also expecting/demanding more diversity, and putting money into more diverse funds, and targeting those funds. You’re seeing that come from pension funds, you’re seeing that come from corporates, who are both investing in those communities and saying, ‘We’ve got a mandate to support diversity, inclusion, and equity in the community as well.’

So, I do think we’re starting to see some real change, and I do think this is a conversation, certainly I know it’s happening in the UK and Europe as well, it’s not just here. So, as hard as it is, the conversations are real, and I do think that we’re starting to see some real change. It’s always frustratingly slow, these things takes time, it takes time to raise money, it takes time to deploy money, but I do think we are starting to see some progress.

Rose Ross: Good, and it’s interesting, you talk about the impact of Black Lives Matter in the States in particular, obviously it’s been a huge impact over here as well, thankfully. But, I think it’s actually troubled people more because in reality our lives were so focused on the news and social media, not on going out with your friends to a restaurant and finding out how their jobs are going – this is the type of topic where there’s been absolute waves, and waves, and waves of it, and quite rightly you couldn’t escape it in the way that you could when you had a normal life, because it’s been so present through the news, people seeing the reactions, the powerful both positive and negative elements of that. So, I think it’s been kind of put under a microscope due to COVID.

Gerald Brady: Oh yeah.

Rose Ross: I wonder, obviously I think it would have had a huge impact, but I wonder if the impact would have been so huge if we’d have all been just truckling about our normal day-to-day business. So, it’s accelerated that, it’s not just digital transformation we’ve looking at, we’re looking at cultural-societal transformation which has been, to a degree, accelerated.

Gerald Brady: Yes, I think that’s very fair, and I do think that we’re in a much more connected world, particularly when none of us are going out very much, or at least up until a few weeks and months ago that was the case. It was impossible to ignore the stories here, you couldn’t ignore it, and sadly it wasn’t one isolated event, we’ve just had a series of tragic deaths here. Again sadly, we continue to see incidents here as well, we know that is continuing to be an issue. I’m an optimist by nature, I’m optimistic that this, as painful as it is, change is coming and it is never easy, but I do think we are starting to see change, and the first part of that is having the conversation. There is just more openness and willingness to do it, as hard as it is.

Rose Ross: And if you’re seeing it in both the investment community, the startup community, research-wise for a good number of years there’s been very firm evidence that more diverse teams produce better companies, better products, better working environments. There’s a reason why we’re all different, right?

Gerald Brady: Yeah.

Rose Ross: Because that’s what’s needed are different skills in different areas, and if we cookie-cutter just the same type of person, again and again and again

Gerald Brady: What a boring world we’d be in, Rose, if we’re all like me!

Rose Ross: Well, I wouldn’t go that far, I’d be more than happy to see a few more Geralds running around. But yes, it is enjoyable to spend time with people from different backgrounds, who have had different experiences.

Gerald Brady: And if you’re a global company you’re selling to a diverse world. If you’re not representative of your customer base, you’re already narrowing your opportunity as well. And again maybe tying this back into technology, there’s a lot of debate for example, if you’ve got software that’s developed by an all-male, all-white developer base, do you see bias being put into AI for example? So, some of these conversations are actually, are you capturing diversity in software development? So, I do think that this is something that is a real conversation.

Rose Ross: Well, I hope we can do a little bit better than the automotive industry, who still have seatbelts that strangle me! And there are just so many elements, things are designed for the customer, the end-user to be a particular way, and if that end-user is not the same as the person who developed it, how do they really understand what is required? So yes, there’s definitely a very powerful element for that. And that takes us actually I think we’re doing well with the segues; I haven’t even set any of these ones up with you Gerald, we’re obviously a natural pair, we’ll have to start a radio show.

From that point of view, if we look forward because it’s been very-very challenging, yet out of that there have been – like they say, you can burn down the forest and the new shoots grow, I’d rather they didn’t have to do it in quite such a dramatic way, but we have what we have. So, moving forward if we look, once we’re hopefully starting to see the shoots, and we’re starting to see the forest grow again, and life – never back to normal, but shall we say have the elements of normality that we want to get back to, and perhaps keep some of the things which we didn’t have before; what do you think technology is going to look like? What’s enterprise tech going to look like in say 10 years’ time?

Gerald Brady: Wow. It’s so interesting, if you think about technology in 10 years it’s pretty incredible. We wouldn’t be doing this 10 years ago. The iPhone is 12 years old, so in some ways it’s very hard to predict. Historians will say it’s really easy to look back, it’s super-hard to look forward in predicting the future. If I was really good at it I’d be running a hedge fund. But I think some things will be obvious, I think we’ll see more HD quality on products, I do actually think that as a society we’ll see more hybrid working, so that work/life balance between home and work. And the pros and cons about that.

I think we all crave the human connection, and I don’t think that goes, but the way we work will probably be different, where we work is certainly changing. The view that if you’re in London and your office is in London that’s where you have to be, and people are now ‘Well I don’t really have to do that.’ So, I think you’ll see more flexibility around the workforce. It’s inevitable that security is going to continue to be a major focus within enterprises. I think a lot of companies – and this is the kind of conversation I had with a few companies recently, and some in the UK, which is, if you’re coming from a traditional retail world, or you’ve got that particular brand experience where you’re known for customer service, how do you take that and translate that into an amazing digital experience? That’s something that clearly is hard to translate, but the hard problems are what’s also the opportunity for people to think about that.

Again, hard to predict in terms of human behaviour what will happen, but certainly my expectation is in at least the next couple of years you are going to see the world really want to be out with each other, whether it’s travelling, bars, restaurants, social life again, because we’ve all been held captive inside our four walls. So, I think you’re going to see maybe the roaring twenties is the phrase that a lot of people are talking about. Potentially we’re in for a super-cycle, and also even in the UK or the US you’ve also had massive consumer savings. Most people haven’t bought clothes, now car sales on the other hand are booming, except for chips. So, it’s again hard to predict some of the societal impact of this, but I do think if you think about some of the interfaces, as much as we hate Zoom for example, it is interesting to think about what that video interface might be like for us in the coming few years. I think that interactivity will continue to evolve and change, and as you think about the knowledge integrating AI into some of this, again I think that’s going to be pretty interesting.

Two trends I’d talk about, Rose. I think we are really-really just at the start… the American term, the first base of really seeing the impact of AI. I view this, and again if I take my optimistic nature, I don’t think this is something that is going to destroy jobs, I think it’s going to make work more meaningful for people. There’s a lot of boring repetitiveness in jobs, lots of data entry, and actually the AI tools helping people focus less on that and being able to automate some of that, and actually get them to focus on more meaningful work, that’s a positive. So, I do think AI potentially will make work more enjoyable for people. I’m old enough, Rose, to remember that people were panicking about the PC revolution 40 years ago, turned out that didn’t destroy jobs, it just changed jobs. So, I’m pretty confident that we’ll continue to see that evolve.

I think how we will consume information is also shifting. My son is about to go to college, you’ve got a son at that age as well, certainly in the next three to five years I doubt he’s going to buy a TV anytime soon, his news is all on this. The way we consume information is clearly changing, but also it’s our entertainment ecosystem as well. I think it’s pretty hard outside of AI to say what else is coming, AI for sure.

The other one I’ll throw out there which I think could be a real game changer is, I do think we will see real quantum computers in use in the next five years. There’s a lot of people who are saying, ‘It’s been the year of quantum computers for 30 years and they’ve never come,’ but I actually think we are on the cusp of quantum technology coming to us. What that can do in terms of just processing capabilities, and the impact that has in terms of speed of transaction, whether it’s content, trading, massive amounts of data being processed, the ability to do this in high-def etc., I think we will see a massive-massive shift. The UK out of Cambridge for example, there’s some amazing things happening in the UK. The UK is in a really strong position in quantum, the government’s got a quantum fund now, so I do think there’s some really interesting things, and in 10 years I do think we won’t be talking about if, it will be real.

Rose Ross: Certainly a very exciting time from that perspective. In that sort of view, what do you think startups are going to look like? We’ve undoubtedly seen some shifts in their world, based on some of the conversations we’ve been having both in the podcast, the video interviews, and just generally speaking what we’re hearing from our Tech Trailblazers, both the recent ones and the ones that have been around in the Tech Trailblazers community for a bit longer. But certainly things like fundraising, remote teams, the requirement for a physical office in the same way as it was before, they all seem to be changing.

I’m sure you’ve seen other stuff as well. So, bearing in mind, where have they got to now, and where do you think that might then take them, if we’ve started this shift of what the expectations are, versus what the reality can be.

Gerald Brady: There’s a couple of things there. Firstly, what COVID has taught us is… there was a belief for a lot of people that unless you’re in the office you’re not productive, and I think that perception particularly in corporate America and other large corporates, that’s gone. Productivity did not go down at all. So, for a lot of people that is a change.

I also think where talent is, matters way less than ever before, so I do think we see that flattening of organisations, and I do think we’ll see investors care way less, particularly as we look out over the next five or ten years. There used to be the view of, if I can’t drive to the company, I’m not going to invest in it. It was one of those things even in the UK, it was like ‘Well, if you’re in Cambridge, I really need you to be in London.’ Or, if you’re in Oxford, ‘I really need you to be here, because I want to be close to you,’ and that was only 30 or 40 miles that we were talking about, and I think that’s gone, I really think that’s gone. Now, it doesn’t mean that relationships don’t matter, they absolutely matter, but I do think that the view that geography is the determining factor on where companies are, that’s gone.

I think we’re also going to see a much more distributed workforce, and rather than say ‘talent needs to come to me’, I think companies will say, ‘Let’s go to where the talent is, and I don’t care where the talent is anymore.’ Particularly in hard technology skill areas where there’s maybe real gaps, where there’s maybe 10, 20, or 30 people in the world that have these skills, I think companies have already accepted that, it’s like, ‘Look, I don’t care if you want to stay in Wyoming, or you want to work in the Hebrides, I don’t care. As long as you’ve got a broadband connection, I’m fine with that.’

I think the reality is we’ve all seen employees, certainly here, move to different parts of the country, be comfortable working across time zones and geographies, and I think that’s changed. What that doesn’t mean is that culture doesn’t matter, it absolutely matters, and we do need to continue to focus on building that corporate culture, and startup culture, but how we do that will be slightly different for sure. Also I suspect the reality is that we still need to come together, it just might not be five days a week every week of a month, and I think we’ll probably see much more hybrid working.

If you look at people like GitLab for example, which has been remote from day one, really one of the pioneers of ‘all remote’. What they will say is, it doesn’t save money, because we spend money getting people together to build cohesion and relationships. And so, I do think the driver isn’t necessarily to say we don’t have office expenditure anymore, because we still have to get people together to build that. And right now, as of today, I would say nothing replaces relationships like in-person, it’s just way harder to do that over a screen. I’m looking at you now Rose, and I can see you perfectly but the jitter and buffer, it’s still there, and I think particularly you and I are on this, if I’ve got 20 faces on a screen Rose, it’s way harder to read an individual face on that. So, I think we’ll still want to be together, we are naturally as humans a social species, and so we want to have that connectivity. I think that’s really important.

I hope, I think, I believe, we will see much greater diversity in both the investors and the founders in these companies. I also think that over the course of the next decade for sure, that entrepreneurship is something that I think is going to become much more of a curriculum conversation in schools and college, because the reality is that most people don’t end up working in large companies, they often work in small companies, they’re self-employed etc. If you’re an architect, how do you become entrepreneurial? If you’re a fashion student, how do you become entrepreneurial? Those are small companies at the end of the day, so I think we have to encourage that, and for economies to thrive you need a thriving economic base of entrepreneurs to do that, so seeing support for entrepreneurship matters.

Then tying it one step back, I also think it’s incumbent upon all of us, whether it’s government, companies, society, to encourage STEM. I think it’s really going to be very hard for cities, countries, communities to have a thriving economy if they don’t have a thriving STEM-base in school. So again, making sure that we’re not leaving kids behind, we’re not underinvesting in STEM in schools, making sure that everyone’s got access to that opportunity, and I think that will be a really big focus for us over the next decade as well.

Rose Ross: Hopefully, we can all be part of that conversation as well because I know the tech industry, there’s always a skills gap, because skills keep changing. You lose people for whatever reasons, and then you’ve already got a deficit and then you’ve got to bring everybody along. So, it is an ongoing challenge, and I don’t think we’re ever going to say, ‘Hey, yeah we got rid of the skills gap!’ Because, oh look – there’s another one!

Gerald Brady: Skills are constantly evolving and changing as well, and again we’re off-topic here, Rose, but the schools I see today are really trying to develop life-long learners, I think companies are looking at the workforce of the future and saying, ‘We need you to be adaptable, we need you to be life-long learners.’ The skills you get in college, what programming skills you have today, they’re going to be redundant. Now, the language you’re trained in might not exist, but the ability to learn that next language, or next technique, you need that ability, you need to encourage that. So, I do think there’ll be a much greater focus on life-long learning for that.

Rose Ross: Yes, it’s part of the joy of being in the tech business, you do have to keep learning because there’s always something new. It may be based on some of the stuff that you understand and have a bit of foundation in it, but it’s still a new element. And that’s what makes it exciting, and I think that’s one of the reasons why we both enjoyed this industry so much.

Gerald Brady: Absolutely. It’s absolutely enthralling to see the impact of technology. There’s clearly some societal issues that come out of this as well! But I do think our world is better for it, and again we’ve focussed just on the technology side, but if you look at the impact of technology in healthcare, or the impact of technology on cars, or the impact of technology on energy, I do think we’re seeing incredible amount of change across all our lives in every aspect of that as well.

Rose Ross: Oh I think that’s one of the things about diversity, is the fact that tech is in every part of our lives, so you don’t have to necessarily be tech first, you could be energy or ecologically first, but there’ll be a technology element of it. We were talking to some people who were coming out with wave energy, how that was impacted and how they were making a difference in it. But that’s okay, it might not all be tech in our world, but it’s certainly engineering and there’s certainly lots of elements about those aspect of the and all of those readings would be being analysed by technology.

Gerald Brady: Yes, for sure.

Rose Ross: It would be all very well having the nuts and bolts, but you also need to understand the stress and the strains that they’ve been put under, and what’s the optimum structure, all of those different elements. So, whatever your passion is, whether it’s fashion, architecture, society itself, the impact of social media, all of these other things.

So, we talked about lots of elements here, about the investment community, about the impact of COVID, and diversity and how important that is.

Prior to us recording this we also had a conversation about some stuff that we’re doing on the Tech Trailblazers, which is a little bit new. We like to try and bring in what we feel are relevant categories that may resonate in the marketplace, and obviously have some benefit, and hopefully spotlight some interesting things that are happening in our amazing ecosystem. Two things are actually very close to you; so the Diversity Trailblazer which we’re looking at how the industry is pushing forward the diversity, equality, and inclusion element, and I was talking with Joe Baguley about that as he likes to put his analogies about going to a dance, being invited, being made to feel welcome, and then feeling like you can get involved and have a good jive.

Also, Investment Trailblazers, so looking at what’s changing and what’s innovative in the investment space. I think those two probably sit very closely together, and obviously very close to your heart; so I’m very pleased to give ourselves our own exclusive, which is that you’re coming on board as one of our judges to look at those two areas, with us and for us.

Gerald Brady: Yes, I’m delighted to. I think these are really important categories, particularly I think as we’ve been chatting about the advent of Black Lives Matter, I think that’s really important. But I also think you’ve got to take a stand, and advocating for more diverse founders, more diverse investors, that’s super-super important, so I’m delighted to be involved and help support some of the things that you are doing Rose.

Rose Ross: Fantastic, we’re delighted to have you onboard. And I think that gives us a fantastic wrap-up as well, always good to end on a high. After the year that we’ve had, we certainly need to be focusing on the positives, and it’s always positive to chat with you Gerald, it’s always a pleasure. So, thank you.

Gerald Brady: Thank you.

Rose Ross: And thank you everybody for listening and watching, and if you’d like to find out more about the Tech Trailblazers, please visit us at www.techtrailblazers.com follow us on Twitter @techtrailblaze no R, no S. Or find us on LinkedIn.

Thank you very much. Speak to you soon, bye-bye now.