#VatorSplashOakland: Mitch Kapor keynote says Oakland’s the new spot for tech expansion
By Howard Dyckoff
Mitch Kapor, one of the early business icons of the personal computer revolution, shared an informal keynote and Q/A session with Vator CEO and Founder Bambi Francisco when the conference kicked off on Tuesday in which he proclaimed that Oakland is the new destination for tech company startups and the Venture Capital firms that nurture those tech start-ups. He also thinks the diversity of Oakland and of its many non-profit organizations will catalyze and transform the tech industry. Kapor is the founder of Lotus Development, the company that created Lotus 1-2-3, the first popular spreadsheet and graphing program that ran on personal computers. Later, in 1990, he was a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and served as its chairman until 1994. EFF has long been an advocate for personal privacy and the rights of digital natives. Kapor now resides in Oakland and, with his wife Freada Kapor Klein, runs the Kapor Center for Social Impact on Broadway which invests in start-ups with economic and social missions. Francisco called Kapor “the first mover” on Oakland’s growing tech startup scene. He agreed with Francisco that tech companies and start-ups are coming to Oakland. “Oakland’s time is coming, in fact Oakland’s time is already here,” Kapor said. “Tech IS coming to Oakland and it’s terribly exciting.”
Kapor used his metaphor about seeing around corners, meaning that an investor has to consider longer time frames for planning and take account of rising trends.
“If you go back to the 50s and 60s …there was zero tech in SF, ” Kapor told the audience. “It was all in the Valley.. and it crept northward in early 2000′s.” He said the same economic and housing pressures that led that northward expansion of technology companies was now leading to eastward movement to the East Bay and to Oakland.