Tech exec who bashed SF and moved to Florida has returned to the city


When Bay Area tech executive Keith Rabois left San Francisco for Miami in 2020, he lamented the city in the process, claiming San Francisco was "just so massively improperly run and managed that it's impossible to stay here." An early executive at PayPal, who later made a name for himself as a tech icon, Rabois was one of the first big names in the industry to jumpstart the pandemic-era "exodus" of tech workers out of the city. 

Four years later, Rabois is spending a quarter of his time back in San Francisco and is even renovating his house here, the Wall Street Journal reported. And he's not alone: Several tech companies and their leaders who left the Bay Area for cities like Miami and Austin are at least partially making their way back to the Bay Area, along with droves of new workers involved in the city's recent AI boom. Included in those companies are startups Delphi and OpenStore, both of which were either funded or founded by Rabois; OpenStore still has most of its employees based in Florida, according to Rabois. 

That's not to say San Francisco's tech industry has fully recovered. Tech startup funding in the Bay Area dropped 12% in 2023, according to the Wall Street Journal. Compared to Austin and Miami, though, that's not much: startup investments in the two cities reportedly dropped 27% and 70%, respectively. 

This trend could partly be due to the Bay Area's stronger and more developed foothold in the industry. An August report from Insider noted that "the reality of day-to-day living and working in Austin's tech scene leaves a lot to be desired," citing a lack of "talent density" compared to the Bay Area. 

"An ecosystem such as SF’s that has been built over the last 50-plus years doesn’t just die because of a pandemic for a few years,” venture capitalist Mo Koyfman told the Wall Street Journal. He added that the presence of universities like Stanford gives tech firms another reason to stay rooted in the Bay Area. 

Other tech big shots making moves back to San Francisco include Erik Torenberg, an investor in multiple tech and AI startups, along with Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi of fintech startup Brex, according to the Wall Street Journal. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, also recently expanded its San Francisco office space footprint. As more tech companies institute stricter return-to-office policies, there could soon be a resurgence of tech bro vests on the streets of San Francisco. 

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