INNOVATE2016: Ben Jealous On DC’s Closed Doors And The Democrats’ Sharing Economy Problem

Few people are as familiar with both Washington DC and Silicon Valley than Ben Jealous.

Formerly the President and CEO of the NAACP, Jealous is now a partner at the Oakland based Kapor Capital (, an early stage fund focused on diverse and socially transformative technologies and companies. And like so many other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors, Jealous believes that Washington DC is, in his words, “closed for business.” DC has stopped functioning. It doesn’t work anymore.

In spite of his progressive politics, Jealous acknowledges that the Republicans may be doing a better job so far in the 2016 race supporting disruptive technologies and business models than the Democrats.

He worries that the Democrats are spending too much time defending Wall Street and traditional cab companies than, for example, acknowledging how empowering the peer-to-peer revolution is for Uber drivers or Airbnb renters.

So Jealous reminds Democratic candidates in 2016 that the Lyfts and TaskRabbits of the sharing economy are critical to both the dignity and economic survival of millions of American citizens.

Many thanks to the AT&T Foundry ( in Atlanta for hosting this interview with Jealous. And thanks again to CALinnovates ( for its help with producing the show.