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"So startups are just an inefficiency imposed on wealth transfer from VCs to landlords. What if someone disrupted the industry and connected VCs directly to landlords?"

;)

(Source: https://labnotes.org/weekend-reading-hi-id-like-to-add-you/)




Seems like VCs would do well to buy some housing. A few more years of rent hikes down the line, "far below-market housing" could be a seriously compelling employee benefit. Apartments big enough to raise a family in would do wonders for employee retention.


Andreessen's family is one of the largest property owners in Silicon Valley via his wife's father, John Arrillaga.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Arrillaga


That doesn't make sense though. They could still provide the same benefit by renting the apartment and giving it to the employee. Unless you think VCs should be betting on real estate, because that's the only advantage - they get the upside if the property goes up in value.


Currently, VCs must fund salary increases to keep pace with rent hikes. Renting apartments for employees just shuffles the numbers around. VCs could buy their way out of exposure to this phenomenon by owning their employee's homes and not increasing the rent.

Yes, this is a bet on rising home prices in the Bay Area, but that seems basically equal to a bet on the Bay Area tech ecosystem, which is already their core business.


I dunno, maybe it makes sense, but there seems to me to be something incredibly demeaning about living in housing owned by your employer. Very....19th century. Is there a company store?


"Here's some Amazon credits. Knock yourself out"


This is something that has existed before https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_town

I've lived in 'man camps' on remote jobs where it was easier to just put up trailers for workers than put them all in hotels. Or sometimes there isn't any temporary housing options available so you get to stay in the man camp. Pretty sure programmers aren't going to fall into line for that option though.


This wouldn't be remote, though - there'd be a few dozen such company towns on overlapping geography. True, you'd need to move to change employers, but it could just be across the street.


Houses are comfier to live in than apartments?


IIRC Microsoft bought the apartments across the street for visitors and interviewees, cheaper.


That's more or less Erlich Bachman's strategy in the show "Silicon Valley". Buy a house and rent it to one man startups for equity...

Life imitates art...


Don't startup incubators long predate the show?


> Seems like VCs would do well to buy some housing.

Incubators yes. But exchanging a place to stay for equity (as OP alluded to) is mostly in the realm of the show although it has happened a few times in real life as well...

Example: http://fusion.net/story/134163/silicon-valleys-startup-castl...


The savings would be great, but what happens when you want to change jobs, but not cities? I'd be a little weary of renting from my employer.


The median rent on a 1-bedroom in SF has increased from $2500 in 2010 to $3600 in 2016.

I don't accumulate as much stuff as some do, but I'd say $12k/year in extra discretionary cash (not just throughput to a landlord) is more than adequate compensation for the risk of a cross-town move.


Sounds like company towns all over again. VCs could open their own stores and sell food and only accept their own currency. And they can pay you in their own currency so you don't have any exchange rate costs. Oh, until you want to get out.




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