The rise of other investments you lauded certainly benefited from this boom — and it may now suffer.
Some Silicon Valley venture capitalists focused on emerging cities may hold back. But most people will realize that over the past decade, 75% of venture capital has gone to just three states, which is insane. In the next phase, those cities that are on the rise have an advantage because startups there tend to be more capital efficient. They have to because they can’t assume they can always raise more money.
Speaking of capital, you’ve raised two funds to invest in Rise of the Rest. What was the return on the initial $150 million?
We haven’t announced yet. We said that when we raised this fund, we would generate top returns. We have a fantastic group of individual investors – Jeff Bezos, Howard Schultz, Ray Dalio, Henry Kravis…
Are they calling you to say how happy they are?
They were pleasantly surprised that our performance was as good as most of them expected, if not better.
So you’re really saying you’re getting “top tier” returns from those regional investments?
This the person you chose to manage that fund It’s JD Vance. But your book doesn’t mention him.Have you broken up with him since Vance? go alone?
He was with us for about a year, but then he moved to Ohio. I haven’t spoken to him since he announced his candidacy for office, and I don’t support that campaign. I was surprised by some of the things he said.
Part of the reason you hired him was the vibe with which he brought the country together.But he seems to have used this to market himself before taking a completely different, divisive approach. Do you think snooker?
The word seems a little strong. Most of our conversations are about funds and the companies we support. Occasionally we would talk about politics, and what he said seemed to be different from what he was saying now. In terms of what we asked him to do, he was very helpful. These bus tours we do are not a red-on-blue thing. While our efforts to save which economies are political, I have always tried to stay out of politics when undertaking government initiatives involving innovation.
Your book touts immigration. In Silicon Valley, an incredible percentage of founders were born outside the United States. I’m not sure if the same is true for the emerging regions you’re promoting.
These cities are more diverse than one might think. I think of Miami, which has a strong startup community with most entrepreneurs from other parts of the world. Atlanta, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. have a much higher percentage of black entrepreneurs than you would see in Silicon Valley, because that reflects the diversity of those communities. I believe that if America loses its way and ceases to be the most innovative and entrepreneurial country in the world, the most likely reason will be the absence of the kind of people-friendly immigration policies it has been for centuries. We need to build bipartisan support for immigration reform.