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Why do we not build as many global leading software companies and brands in Europe as we do in the US?

Clive Armitage

April 25, 2023


In the latest of our ‘Agents of Change’ series, in which we talk to business leaders about how to drive sustainable success in a changed world, we were fortunate enough to be joined by software industry veteran, Phill Robinson, Founder of Boardwave.  Having an impressive career working both sides of the Atlantic for US software firms, we spoke to Phil about his experience in the software industry in both the US and Europe, and how this led to him founding Boardwave, a network that’s been set up to drive European software development and innovation.

With a career spanning software development, product management, marketing and latterly CMO and CEO roles for brands such as Oracle, Sybase, Siebel and Salesforce, in 2019, Phill returned to the UK with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.  With an initial plan to retire and spend more time with his family as a consequence, the lockdown period afforded Phill the time to also consider a possible answer to a question about the European software industry that had previously eluded him: Why do we not build as many global leading software companies and brands in Europe as we do in the US?

Phill believes that, today, thanks to Government support for innovation in 2011, and with capital now more readily available, we now have a more vibrant startup scene in the UK, with even a number of software companies coming through that have the power to change the world.  But there are still very, very few leading companies.  Why? When Phill looked back at the tech community he was part of in California’s Silicon Valley, he realised we didn’t really have an equivalent here in Europe and so, while we’re now doing a good job at the beginning of the journey in supporting and nurturing founders, they still need help getting them further along the journey to complete their mission.  

This led Phill to founding Boardwave, a community platform that allows European software leaders, CEOs and founders to talk to each other, share best practices, ideas, knowledge and experiences so that they can help one another build the next generation of software company together.  

Today, Boardwave has 650 CEOs and founders across Europe and is growing rapidly every month. In addition, the 25 investors, early stage VCs and private equity investors are supporting the program financially and providing access to capital for members. 

You can watch the interview in full here to find out more but, in the meantime, if you’re interested in getting involved with Boardwave, either as a member or mentor, please do reach out to Phill and get involved!

Thanks for your time and insight, Phil, it was a fascinating conversation!

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