Skip to main content

Money Is So Tight In Silicon Valley That Billionaire Tech VC Wants California To Pay $30M Just to Use His Beach

Hey, Vinod Khosla could use a little spendin' money these days.

Bloated, fetid corpses of unicorns are being discovered with alarming frequency up and down Sand Hill road these days, and suddenly everyone is claiming that they forgot their wallet when it comes to investing in a Series B round for a hot new e-commerce play.

The kale salad days are over in Silicon Valley and the magical money spring that irrigated everything from Alphabet to Zynga is starting to run dry. And while they'll pretend that everything is just fine, some of the biggest money names in tech are starting to act a little strange:

A Silicon Valley venture capitalist, locked in a battle with the State of California over access to a prime stretch of beach that was popular with surfers, swimmers and fishermen before he bought it and closed it, has proposed a price to restore public access: $30 million.

But this isn't just any VC, it's billionaire Valley icon Vinod Khosla. The dude who helped create Silicon Valley and now runs a fiefdom from his powerful Khosla Ventures outfit.

Vinod is hardly another Valley VC dude trying to project the appearance of wealth while actually living in his leased Tesla and praying for a liquidity event. So what's the deal?

About eight years ago, Mr. Khosla, a founder of Sun Microsystems, snapped up a prime 53-acre parcel of Martins Beach for $37.5 million. The parcel, about four miles south of Half Moon Bay on the San Francisco Peninsula, includes the beach and the road. And for a century, California’s State Lands Commission said, the land had been a haven for the beachgoing public.
At first, Mr. Khosla let people use the beach, but in 2010 locked the gate on Martins Beach Road and posted guards.
Now, for the first time, lawyers for Mr. Khosla have proposed in negotiations with the state to restore public access for almost the amount that Mr. Khosla paid for the land.

After five years of bitter disputes with the community and the state, Khosla is going to settle up for a measly $30 mil?

Uber burns through $30 million in China every 20 minutes or something, but $30 million isn't quite enough to make up for Khosla's $500 million bet on the tire fire that is now Zenefits. So it really seems like Vinod is going to let the common rabble surf and frolic on his beach for some mere pocket change.

Are things that bad in the Valley VC scene?

Is Marc Andreessen going to start doing sponsored tweetstorms, or is Peter Thiel about to take speaking fees from colleges? Are we - gasp - going to actually hear Elon musk utter the phrase "cost benefit analysis" in public?

What is happening?!?!

Mogul Seeks $30 Million From California to Give Beach Access [NYT]



Silicon Valley Recap: Stache-Lag

We recap "Silicon Valley" now.


Trump Starts Off Meeting With Tech CEOs By Announcing Total Reversal Of His Trade Policy

Trump's tech summit seems to be going as strangely as we'd assumed.


One Year Later, Dumb Silicon Valley Juice Startup Turns Out To Be Even Dumber

In which we learn that Juicero is still somehow something that exists.