Priya Guha, a former representative for the UK government, has been appointed as the leader of a new London startup space.
Founded in the US in 2011, RocketSpace has accommodated more than 1,000 tech companies since it was born, including 17 unicorns — the term given to tech companies when their valuation exceeds $1 billion (£820 million).
Uber, for example, moved into RocketSpace’s San Francisco building a month after it opened when the taxi-hailing company had just eight employees. European tech companies like Spotify, Blippar, and SuperCell have also done stints at RocketSpace.
“The UK has such a great and diverse tech ecosystem, building on traditional strengths like financial services, cutting-edge research from the UK’s top universities and a forward looking entrepreneurial culture,” Guha told Business Insider. “Having worked for five years to support the growth of UK tech from Silicon Valley, it is a privilege to be able to continue that important work from this side of the Atlantic.”
The RocketSpace London campus will be able to accommodate 1,500 members and startups will be able to grow their teams to 100 people before they’re asked to move out and into their own office. RocketSpace is yet to decide how much it will charge members.
In her role, Guha will aim to “plug UK startups into the RocketSpace ecosystem” and bridge the gap between the UK and Silicon Valley to support members’ international growth.
Duncan Logan, founder and CEO of RocketSpace, said in a statement: “Priya has a tremendous track record working with technology companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Her cross-border experience and deep relationships make Priya a valuable leader and advocate for our members as we join one of the world’s leading tech ecosystems.”
Guha served as a British diplomat for 20 years across India, Spain and the U.S. She became Britain’s first female Consul General to San Francisco when she was appointed in 2011.
Eileen Burbidge, partner at Passion Capital and chair of Tech City UK, added: “In her diplomatic career, Priya was a champion for Britain, for British business, for technology, and for entrepreneurs. This is a brilliant appointment by RocketSpace, and I’ve no doubt that Priya will be a great advocate for the organisation and its members.”