Silicon Valley is losing another tech heavyweight: Keith Rabois, a prolific startup investor, CEO of powers like Square, LinkedIn, Yelp and PayPal, and a longtime Bay Area resident. He tells me he’s “moving soon.”
Rabois revealed his decision to decamp during our conversation at Meridian Conference, an event organized by the Stellar Development Foundation group focused on cryptocurrency. (Rabois, an investor in Stripe, joined Stellar’s board of directors after Stripe invested in Stellar six years ago.)
“I think San Francisco is so poorly run and managed that it’s impossible to stay here,” Rabois said. He believes he’s not the only one abandoning the Bay Area, a place he’s called home for two decades. He cited anecdotal evidence of many people leaving his social circles and noted, “COVID kind of masks that stuff. It is not as obvious where people are moving and whether they have actually moved since everyone is working remotely.
Rabois is one of the many forsakers in the Bay Area. His planned departure follows the theft of Peter Thiel, Rabois’ former Stanford buddy and PayPal partner, in Los Angeles in 2018. (Rabois joined the venture capital firm of Thiel Founder’s Fund last year.) In a widely read IPO prospectus this year, Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir, a PayPal spinout and Rabois investment, also stated that he was company relocation to Colorado after breaking into the valley’s tech companies, calling them unpatriotic for military contracts poo-poo. And Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, where Rabois worked as director of operations for three years, planned to settle in Africa before the pandemic hits.
Add Rabois to the list of emigrants. He said COVID had helped show that the perceived disabilities in leaving California were “more psychological than real.”
Data from Opendoor (which Rabois co-founded) and competing companies like Zillow reveal a trend. “Rental searches in the Bay Area are in free fall, down 30%,” said Rabois. In big cities like New York and Los Angeles, rental searches are also dropping like crazy, as people recognize “all the downsides” of city living – a higher cost of living and closer neighborhoods – with a few. – some of the mostly social benefits, he said.
“It’s very clear right now, people are massively changing their preferences,” said Rabois. He added, however, that it remains to be seen whether the trend will continue once a vaccine is widely distributed and cities are able to reopen.
So where is Rabois going? Just in time to avoid a winter on the west coast, he buys a house in the sun. “Miami is an incredibly beautiful, cosmopolitan city, has an interesting mix of New Yorkers, Latin Americans and Europeans,” Rabois said of his future home. Oh, and “There is no state income tax.
“Living in the Bay Area for 20 years is like, everything you wish you had,” Rabois said. “I’m a fan of the hot weather and the water, so it feels like I’m going on vacation.”
How many will follow?
PS I don’t mean I told you for now, but this first report new MacOS computers, as Aaron pointed out yesterday, seems to confirm my theory that the deployment of Apple’s new technology would not go as planned.