April 21, 2024
Rants, AI and other notes from Upfront Summit


The venture capital stars were shining in Los Angeles this week at the Upfront Summit, an invite-only VC conference founded by Mark Suster and known for going all-out.

For example, there were Coco robots serving drinks and lots of pink. AI was the talk of the town again and even some celebrities graced the stage, including Lady Gaga, Cameron Diaz, Katy Perry and Novak Djokovic.

What may have been a little different this year, though, is that it’s been a tough one for venture capital and startups seeking venture capital. Some media outlets even called it out.

Keith Rabois, managing director at Khosla Ventures, briefly addressed rumors about what led him to leave Founders Fund earlier this year. He spent much of this time onstage defending his move away from San Francisco.

Rabois didn’t come out and call people there “lazy,” though he did note that he knows founders who look elsewhere for talent. That’s because very few people in San Francisco want to work 12 hours a day, six days a week as is the culture in other cities, like New York, Rabois explained.

He tweeted later on, calling the The Wall Street Journal story about tech leaders who left the Bay Area and are moving back now “fake.”

8VC general partner Joe Lonsdale discussed “Woke mind virus,” which included everything from “ripping business” away from companies like Raytheon to the way Google sets up its search creates a “crazy ideological bent that’s not healthy for our country.”

Some other highlights

M13 partner Anna Barber captured Melinda French Gates on stage saying, “I see venture capital as the engine for social progress in the United States.” While Upfront Ventures tweeted French Gates saying, “Look at a barrier in society and see if there is a way to take it down or look for an accelerant in society and find a way to make it faster.”

Journalist Andrew Nusca caught Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon saying, “’Today essentially five companies control the internet … we basically made a Faustian bargain in the 2000s’ when we gave them control in exchange for a richer experience.”

Karan Talati, CEO of First Resonance, tweeted that this was his first time at the summit, and “there is no doubt that this year’s emphasis on hardtech reflects the exciting wave of opportunities in manufacturing, aerospace, and energy.”





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