As the Prime Minister’s special policy advisor, 32 year old, Silva branded the name Tech City on the cluster of small businesses huddled around London’s Old Street roundabout, and appointed an “ambassador” to the Silicon Roundabout scheme.
He then convinced Number 10 that internet startups should be an emblem of the UK economy, translating venture capitalists’ wish lists into policy.
However from June he is set to become the “entrepreneur in residence” at the European investment firm Index Ventures with a focus on education initiatives.
“What Tech City is really about at big-picture level is saying, where is it we want this country to be in the next 10 years,” he told the Independent last year.
“All the global tectonic plates are moving in London’s direction,” he added ominously.
Talking about Silva’s departure Janan Ganesh, George Osborne’s biographer said: “Rohan Silva is the most visionary of the government’s advisers. His exit should disappoint anyone who wants Britain to be more open and enterprising,”
Silva was very effective on getting his, and other’s messages to the Prime Minister and other Whitehall mandarins
When he was told by Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni that Britain needed entrepreneur visas and this was fed straight back to the PM and put on the agenda.
Index Ventures’ Robin Klein also urged Silva to address the problems for high-growth firms launching on the London Stock Exchange. This may have led to the exchange’s new high-growth segment, which is now under review.
It is clear that Silva’s departure may be a huge blow to Tech City and government plans to foster and promote high growth technology companies in London. However this may also spark a change of tact that many startups and SMEs in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool have been crying out for.
What his departure will mean to the Prime Minister or UK business generally is unclear. Silva was on the ambitious end of the policy spectrum, full of ideas and a hunger to change things. However he pressed Cameron to be bold so lets hope that the PM replaces him with another revolution-making character.