3rd April 2024

Social Tech Trust, a leading impact investor in the UK, is delighted to announce exciting changes to its Board of Trustees, effective April 1, 2024.  

Rob Tashima, an existing Trustee with a robust background in impact investment and innovation, will assume the role of Chair of Trustees, succeeding Bill Liao, who has come to the limit of his term as a Trustee after a decade of invaluable leadership and guidance. Russell Johnstone, a seasoned legal expert in the tech and communications sector, will step into the newly established position of Vice Chair. Both appointments come at a pivotal time as the Trust continues to champion the intersection of tech innovation, inclusive investment and social impact. 

Bill Liao (General Partner at SOSV), the outgoing Chair, has been instrumental in the Trust’s evolution, including its transition from Nominet Trust to the Social Tech Trust we see today. Under his stewardship, the Trust has expanded its reach and refined its investment strategy, working closely with CEO Edward Evans to identify and support high-potential social tech ventures. The Trust extends its deepest gratitude to Bill for his dedication, visionary leadership, and the lasting impact he has made. 

Bill Liao said: “Serving as the Chair of Social Tech Trust has been a profoundly rewarding experience. Witnessing the Trust’s growth and impact firsthand has been a privilege. I am confident that under Rob and Russell’s leadership, the Trust will continue to thrive and lead the way in using technology for social good. I look forward to seeing the next chapters of success.” 

Edward Evans, CEO said: “We are immensely grateful to Bill for his ten years of exceptional leadership and are excited about the future with Rob and Russell at the helm. Their combined expertise and fresh perspectives are perfectly aligned with our mission to empower social tech ventures. Together, we will continue to explore innovative investment models and strategies to support our ambitious mission of transforming lives with tech.” 

Rob Tashima (Senior Director at Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation) brings to the Trust a wealth of experience from Village Capital and an extensive investment and venture management background in the US, Africa and the Middle East. He has been at the forefront of exploring innovative financial models for entrepreneurs and investors tackling global challenges, and his expertise in early-stage impact investing will be invaluable as the Trust continues to nurture and invest in ventures that promise significant social transformation. 

Rob Tashima said: “I am honoured to support the work of the Trust as Chair. Entrepreneurship and social innovation can build a better world, but venture funding too often leaves communities on the sidelines. Social Tech Trust is changing that by backing entrepreneurs solving real-world problems, from reducing anxiety in pediatric cancer patients to improving therapy access for low-income individuals. Bill has helped create a strong foundation for us to build upon, and I look forward to collaborating closely with the team and trustees to further the mission of the Trust in the years to come.” 

Russell Johnstone (General Counsel at EE), with his extensive legal background and commitment to improving social mobility in professional sectors, brings a vital perspective to the Trust’s work. His experience leading the legal team for BT’s consumer brands (BT, EE, and Plusnet) equips him with the knowledge and skills to support the Trust’s mission and its focus on creating tangible benefits for end beneficiaries. 

Russell Johnstone said: “Assuming the role of Vice Chair for Social Tech Trust is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to a cause I am deeply passionate about. The intersection of technology, investment and social impact has never been more critical, and I am eager to leverage my experience to support the Trust’s strategic goals. Together, we will continue to champion social tech ventures that are making a real difference in the world.” 

After running a successful internal recruitment campaign, Social Tech Trust welcomes Rob and Russell to their new roles with excitement and anticipation for the continued growth and impact of the Trust’s work.  

Together, we remain committed to advancing our vision of a world where social transformation is the driving force behind tech. 

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Meet our Board and Team