Electric Jets, Buried Trash And Controlled Ownership. Welcome To Marc Lore’s ‘City Of The Future.’

Marc Lore is built like The Rock but with a Staten Island accent. As he unpacks a $10 million moon shot, Marc Lore fills almost every pixel of his Zoom screen. This “city of the future”, which would eventually house 5,000,000 people in the Nevada desert, is a “city” of the future. Maybe in Texas, Arizona, or some other part of Appalachia. We’ll keep an eye out.

Lore says it will be the “most sustainable city in America”. Lore says that all garbage will be kept underground and that autonomous vehicle won’t be allowed on the roads. Electric jets will take over the skies. The most important aspect of the land’s ownership is that a private foundation will manage it. All leases for residential and commercial projects will be used to fund social services.

“One of the main motivators was. . . Lore, 50, says that he is currently testing a new model of society. “What we call ‘equities, which is capitalism reimagined,” he says. “It won’t look like the Jetsons. Instead, it will look like a city.” He sees it as a mix of New York City, Tokyo, and Stockholm that combines the best aspects of each location’s efficiency and diversity.

It’s a romantic idea that sounds like tech-bro babble. However, Lore is worth more than $500 million and has a unique resume. Lore has sold and started four companies, including Jet.com, which Walmart purchased for $3.3 billion in 2016 and Quidsi, the parent of Diapers.com. Amazon bought Quidsi for $545 million in 2011. He has been the subject of headlines since his Walmart handcuffs were removed in January. VCP stands for Vision/Capital/People and is buying the Minnesota Timberwolves for $1.5 billion. The city of the future, however, is all Lore.

Although he’s not the only entrepreneur to have such an ambitious flight, most moonshots look to the skies, where Richard Branson and Elon Musk compete to conquer space. However, all three are more wealthy than Lore.

Lore is all over the place right now, and there are talks of a T.V. series. This raises questions about whether Lore’s vision of the future city is just an ego play or a real plan. If he’s serious, he can likely raise funds to make it happen. Robert Gibbs, an urban consultant, says that it is possible. He is currently working on a Southeast planned city for one million people. It does require a billionaire, however.

Lore insists, “My goal to put in billions.” “Hopefully, we’ll become one of the most loved cities on the globe.”

Lore was born on Staten Island and was raised by an entrepreneur father. While his father, Peter, started Chadmarc Systems as a technology consulting company, Chiara worked as a personal trainer, bodybuilder, and coach.

Lore and a friend founded The Mint in tenth grade. They bought cards wholesale and then resold them at a markup. Academics were put on the back burner. Lore claims that he used to steal from class to count cards in Atlantic City.

Lore, a state champion in 55-meter running, enrolled at Bucknell University in 1989. He was also a track runner and studied economics and business management. After college, he worked at Bankers Trust in New York before moving to finance and eventually starting his first business, The Pit. This was an eBay competitor that specialized in trading cards. Topps purchased the company in 2001 for $5.7million.

Lore was awash in cash and set his sights higher. Vinit Bharara, a younger brother to former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, was Lore’s grade-school friend. In 2005, he founded Diapers.com. This online marketplace for baby products generated $2.5 million in its first year. Through the acquisition of Amazon in 2011, the company multiplied. Lore worked for two years at Amazon before deciding to compete. He and his co-founders raised $140 million from Accel Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and other Silicon Valley heavyweights in 2015 and launched Jet.com.

Jet was unique in its pricing model, offering customers discounts when purchasing items from the same distribution centre. Walmart bought Jet for $3.3 billion, including a $477 million cash payment to Lore. The company generated $1 billion in its first year. Jet’s growth was slow in the following years, but the deal was completed.

Lore recalls that two men came to her apartment and sat down on the couch, telling me they wanted to start a new transportation company. He provided seed funding for Archer Aviation, their flying-car startup. In February, it was announced that it would go public through a SPAC deal valued at $3.8 billion. The deal was due to close in the second half of the year, but Lore blames the SEC backlog.

He is now hoping to replicate that success with A-Rod, VCP and an aggressive investment strategy that requires founders to give up more equity in return for capital. But, he says, “We feel that we have something special in the market. We are taking 40% to 80% shares in companies. It’s kind of like an incubator.”

Lore insists that the ultimate goal is his city. He would like to begin with 30,000 acres of land, enough for a million people. This will require $1 billion-plus $9 billion more investments to get the city off the ground. A team of about a dozen people has been hired to model his ideas. In a LinkedIn poll, he suggested four names for the city: Pangea. New West. The USA. (a portmanteau from “Your USA”) and Tolosa. The latter, which is derived from the Greek word “purpose”, won.

Pablo Vaggione is an urban development specialist who worked previously for the United Nations Human Settlements Program. He says that many questions need to be answered before a project like this can come together. Is there a mayor? Who is the mayor of the city? Are citizens allowed to vote? Where is the energy from? Where is the water source? Vaggione says that most cities, even remotely similar to Lore’s vision, have government backing.

Planned communities are not a new idea. Master-planned communities include Daybreak, South Lake County, Utah, or Ava Maria, Naples, Florida, and Washington, D.C. These communities didn’t have a new economic model, nor did they include futuristic flourishes. This is a common misconception for a software entrepreneur who has no experience in urban development.

Lore is unwavering. Forget about the T.V. series, stock grants, V.C. firms, or even A-Rod. Instead, he says, “This is it.” He repeats the phrase to emphasize, “This is it!”

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Adam Collins
Adam writes about technology, business and economics. With master's degree in Economics, he's presented six papers in international conferences. As a solivagant in the constant state of fernweh, curiosity is the main weapon in his arsenal.

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