Last year, 85% of all venture capital went to blue states and just 15% went to states that elected President Trump. Voters in red states are justified in feeling left out and left behind. And that gap will continue to widen if we don’t find ways to connect all Americans to the benefits of entrepreneurship and innovation.
I believe there are steps we can take to bridge this divide. We are entering a new era — the Third Wave — where entrepreneurs will use technology to revolutionize major real world sectors and in the process transform the way we live and work. In doing so, founders may increasingly find success starting companies in cities outside Silicon Valley or New York where industry expertise resides. For example, an agtech startup is probably better situated in the Midwest — where they understand the culture and history of farming — than it is in Palo Alto. But we need other policies and programs — at the federal and local level — to accelerate the development of startup ecosystems in cities outside of the coastal tech hubs. By doing so, we will help break the cycle of the capital flowing to the same people, in the same places, for the same ideas. We will create a more inclusive kind of entrepreneurship that benefits us all.