By Liza Veale
There's something happening on Craigslist that some people might find disturbing: Landlords are listing spots in North and West Oakland as being located in "the new tech area." But while tech has been announcing its arrival in the East Bay for a while now, the most prominent voices are those adamantly insisting that, in Oakland, we're using the word differently.
The Kapor Center, which invests in both for-profit and nonprofit tech ventures, celebrated the groundbreaking of its new headquarters on Tuesday, promising to constitute the (aptly metaphorical) heart of Oakland's tech-for-social-justice world. As one of the Kapor partners, Benjamin Jealous, put it, "We're here to make sure that as Oakland becomes more tech, tech becomes more Oakland."
The center will occupy a building at 22nd and Broadway that has been vacant for a decade. After a serious remodeling, it will become a three-story complex that is decidedly public-facing for a philanthropic and venture capital firm. There will be an event auditorium in the basement, a rooftop garden and a street-level cafe. "We're here to make an investment in Oakland," said Freada Kapor Klein. "We're here to strengthen the tech ecosystem and open our doors to anyone that wants to be a part of that."