Tech billionaires are buying up land in San Francisco to build their own utopia

For years, a little-known company called Flannery Associates has been buying up vacant land just northeast of San Francisco in Solano County. Hundreds of landowners, who have received offers for their lots at several times the actual value of the land, have wondered who exactly is behind these property purchases – now thousands of acres of rolling hills.

A new report from that New York Times Details of what’s going on here: A group of tech elites have banded together to buy up land and try to found their own city. The group includes tech billionaires like Marc Andreessen of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. (Andreessen Horowitz itself is also an investor.) Other notable names such as Chris Dixon, who runs Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, and the founders of payments company Stripe have invested. Even Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Job’s politically active widow, is involved.


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According to the report, the mastermind behind Flannery Associates is a 36-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader named Jan Sramek. A quick search for Sramek’s name triggers a bright glow Article about the former investment banker from about a decade ago. At the time he was in his twenties and for a moment something of a golden child in the financial world.

A 2017 pitch by Flannery Associates spelled out what the company allegedly wants to do: “Take a dry patch of brown hills cut through by a dual carriageway between suburbs and rural countryside and transform it.” [it] to a community of tens of thousands, with clean energy, public transportation, and dense city life.”

Given the pleasantly stated intentions, it’s odd that until recently, Flannery Associates chose to keep locals living in the area unaware of their intentions. The company operated in such great secrecy that even local congressmen could not discover the identity of the people behind it.

However, only in the past week has the company shed its cloak of anonymity by reaching out to public officials and requesting meetings to discuss its plans.

Why? The reason is probably that Flannery Associates has been buying up mostly farmland and other land that isn’t actually intended for residential use. That means lobbying officials and convincing locals to vote on rezoning. The company hopes that the prospect of jobs, new homes and public spaces will win them over.

But current residents only have to look dozens of miles south into Silicon Valley to see who a city that caters to the whims of the tech elite actually ends up being for.

Chrissy Callahan

Chrissy Callahan is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Chrissy Callahan joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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