I am currently on the UK board of B Corp, a Venture investor in early-stage tech businesses and Vice Chairman of Simply Business – a business insurance provider trying to disrupt financial services with technology, service and data. My new venture is 53º Capital – a new type of private investment vehicle where a network of entrepreneurs will back entrepreneurs and the firm’s proceeds from investment returns will be used to fund social projects rather than personal wealth.
I joined Simply Business from the global dating website, match.com, where I was UK International managing director. Prior to this, I spent time working in the travel industry as managing director at Travelocity Business, Non-Executive at Skyscanner and in commercial roles at lastminute.com.
Simply Business was voted as the 2015 & 2016 Number One ‘Best Place to Work’ in the UK by The Sunday Times. Accredited as a B Corp in 2017.
In 2018 I published my first book with Virgin called Reboot – A Blueprint for Happy, Human Business in the Digital Age. The premise of the book is that headlines predict that whole industries will be decimated by Artificial Intelligence and automation. Some bosses and bankers are rubbing their hands at the prospect of cost savings and staff cuts. But there is another way. New technology can also empower teams, fuel creativity and make people happier.
Outside of work I love reading, traveling with my family, I own racehorses and am a long-suffering
supporter (by birthright) of a Grimsby Town FC.
Robert started out as a development researcher and then development producer, working on broadcast and online formats including Pop Idol, Big Brother and Deal or No Deal. Robert went on to direct Being Victor, a drama series produced by Warner Bros Television, before establishing his own production business, its first commission being a ten-part drama for Channel Five. Robert later executive produced Tell Spring Not To Come This Year, a documentary following the Afghan National Army, which won the Amnesty International Film Prize and Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Robert co-founded Zinc Network with his best friend Scott Brown, with the aim of creating a positive impact through compelling content. Its first assignment involved producing and directing content that would shift narratives away from Somalia being a “failed state” and instead promote support for the country’s fragile democracy and economy. Zinc Network has since worked on a wide range of projects, including a large-scale community-led programme aimed at countering terrorist recruitment and radicalisation during a time of unprecedented violence on British streets, as well as tackling disinformation across Europe through capacity building and media development programmes.
As an entrepreneur, Robert continues to lead the company he started eight years ago, which now employs around 100 people from a diverse range of professional and cultural backgrounds. Zinc Network’s clients include the United Nations, UK and US governments, Microsoft and the Internet Watch Foundation.
Robert is a member of the Young President’s Organisation and a supporter of Young Enterprise/Junior Achievement through the entrepreneurs club.