clock menu more-arrow no yes

For the U.S. to stay on top, we can’t just keep funding innovation in Silicon Valley and New York

Steve Case says we need to spread our bets across the country — or else things will keep getting worse.

The digital boom has helped the United States maintain its status — for now — as the world’s political and economic leader. But it has also increasingly created a divide within the U.S. — one of the themes that led to Donald Trump’s election as president.

“This issue of people feeling left behind — it’s not just a feeling,” said Steve Case, the internet pioneer who was AOL’s long-time CEO and now runs investment firm Revolution. “They have been left behind.”

And one problem, Case outlined at Recode’s Code Work event today at SXSW, is that too much attention — from investors, media, etc. — is focused on Silicon Valley and New York, citing a statistic that 78 percent of venture capital investment last year went to three states: California, New York and Massachusetts.

“If you’re funding disruption in a few places like Silicon Valley, some of that, naturally, is going to result in destroying jobs in different sectors, many of which are in the middle of the country,” Case said, interviewed by Recode Executive Editor Kara Swisher. That creates a situation, Case said, where people there feel like they’re not benefiting, “but are getting hurt by digitization and globalization.”

How to offset that? By backing more of the entrepreneurs in those other places, Case said, “so you’re actually creating more jobs in those other places.” And by “spreading bets all across the country, some of those will end up being the next big breakthrough.”

“Otherwise, I think it will get worse and things will get more challenging politically.”


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.