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VCs say Silicon Valley isn’t the gold mine it used to be

In the days leading up to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018, The Economist published the cover story, ‘Why Startups Are Leaving Silicon Valley.’ The author outlined reasons why the Valley has “peaked.” Venture capital investors are deploying capital outside the Bay Area more than ever before. High-profile entrepreneurs and investors, Peter Thiel, for example, have left. Rising rents are making it impossible for new blood to make a living, let alone build businesses. And according to a recent survey, 46 percent of Bay Area residents want to get the hell out, an increase from 34 percent two years ago. Needless to say, the future of Silicon Valley was top of mind on stage at Disrupt. “It’s hard to make a difference in San Francisco as a single entrepreneur,” said J.D. Vance, the author of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and a managing partner at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund, which backs seed-stage companies based outside Silicon Valley. “It’s not as a hard to make a difference as a successful entrepreneur in Columbus, Ohio.” In conversation with Vance, Revolution CEO Steve Case said he’s noticed a “mega-trend” emerging. Founders from cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit or Portland are opting to stay in their hometowns instead of moving to U.S. innovation hubs like San Francisco. “The sense that you have to be here or you can’t play is going to start diminishing.” “We are seeing the beginnings of a slowing of what has been a brain drain the last 20 years,” Case said. “It’s not just watching where the capital flows, it’s watching where the talent flows. And the sense that you have to be here or you can’t play is going to start diminishing.” J.D. Vance says that most entrepreneurs don’t need to move to Silicon Valley. Here’s why. #TCDisrupt pic.twitter.com/0mFPeTuHLe — TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) September 6, 2018 Farewell, San Francisco “It’s too expensive to live here,” said Aileen Lee, the founder of seed-stage VC firm Cowboy Ventures, amid a conversation with leading venture capitalists Spark Capital general partner Megan Quinn and Benchmark general partner Sarah Tavel . “I know that there are a lot of people in the Bay…

Doug Leone, the global managing partner of powerhouse Sequoia Capital, is coming to Disrupt

Sequoia Capital has been at the top of its game in the U.S. for decades, thanks to early investments in Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal, as well as, more recently, its stakes in the messaging startup WhatsApp, the payments company Stripe and the video conferencing unicorn company Zoom. Yet unlike a lot of top-tier firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia is far from reliant on the Bay Area companies for huge returns. Instead, a dozen years ago, anticipating that the most impactful tech ideas could come from anywhere and be built around the world, the firm founded Sequoia China and Sequoia India, assembling local teams to invest in startups and help founders build their companies. That strategy is now paying off, big time. As we reported earlier this week, Sequoia currently makes more than 50 cents from every dollar returned to its investors from its overseas bets. Among the many companies Sequoia Capital China alone has funded: Meituan-Dianping, the group-discount service that sells locally found products and retail services and just filed to go public in Hong Kong; Ele.me, the food ordering company that sold a controlling stake in its business to Alibaba in April for $9.5 billion; DJI, the drone company, which was reported to be raising $1 billion in new funding this spring at a $15 billion valuation; VIP.com, the commerce platform that went public in 2012 and currently boasts a $7.2 billion market cap; and Didi, the mobile transportation giant that’s in a race against its U.S. rival Uber to conquer the global ride-hailing market. To learn more about the new reality facing Silicon Valley startups — that competition is no longer next door, it’s global — we’re thrilled to announce that Sequoia Managing Partner Doug Leone is coming to Disrupt for a fireside chat. Leone oversees the firm’s global operations with Roelof Botha, who runs Sequoia’s U.S. business, and Neil Shen, the founder and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China, and he knows better than nearly anyone in Silicon Valley how the investing and technology landscapes are evolving — and what founders globally should be mindful of as they build the next legendary company. Leone also knows…

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