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Czech Investor is Building a Dream City in California

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A group of prominent Silicon Valley investors is backing a land acquisition project in central California, USA, with the intention of constructing a new city. Heading this endeavor is Jan Šrámek, a 36-year-old Czech entrepreneur. The New York Times (NYT) has unveiled previously undisclosed details of this secretive venture, which has reportedly amassed an investment of around $900 million (approximately 20 billion CZK).

Among the backers of this initiative are renowned figures such as Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn, as well as Patrick and John Collison, founders of the payment company Stripe. The project has also garnered support from investors Marc Andreessen and Michael Moritz. These influential investors have funded the acquisition of undeveloped land parcels in California’s Solano County, where their vision for a novel “dream city” combining innovative political and urban planning concepts will materialize. The purchases are being executed by Flannery Associates, an entity that has refrained from publicly disclosing its intentions.

The brainchild behind Flannery is Jan Šrámek, a former Goldman Sachs investor who has managed to secure the backing of notable names within the technology sector, as reported by NYT. Šrámek hails from Dřevohostice in the Olomouc region of the Czech Republic. His name first gained international recognition in 2009 when Financial News listed him among their selection of rising stars in global finance during his tenure at Goldman Sachs. Notably, at just 22 years old, Šrámek became the youngest ever candidate to be included. His tenure at Goldman Sachs concluded a year and a half later.

The endeavor to establish a new city in California has been underway since at least 2017, according to findings by NYT. Back then, billionaire Michael Moritz approached a potential investor to gauge interest in this unique initiative.

Since then, Flannery Associates has been methodically acquiring vast stretches of land in a predominantly agricultural region situated around 100 miles northeast of San Francisco. The entity has extended offers to every landowner in the vicinity, often paying well above market prices, irrespective of whether the land was officially on sale or not.

The concept of constructing a futuristic city has long intrigued Silicon Valley’s upper echelons, though practical implementation has remained elusive. Some years ago, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, rumored to be among Šrámek’s role models in his youth, invested in a similar project.

Bloomberg, in a commentary, reflected on other comparable ventures in recent times. One such example is a subsidiary of Google named Sidewalk Labs, which aimed to transform a portion of Toronto, Canada, into a “fundamentally more sustainable and affordable community” through technological and urban planning innovations. This project, however, was abandoned in 2020 due to public backlash, as Bloomberg reported.



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