A vocal group of venture capitalists on Thursday decided not to attend an event with President Trump in what the White House has dubbed as Tech Week, according to Bloomberg.
While executives from major companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple were in attendance, many venture capitalists saw "no benefit in going and didn’t want to compromise their reputations by fraternizing with an unpopular president," Bloomberg reported.
Yet Steve Case, the founder of AOL and chairman of Revolutionary Ventures, felt the need to justify his visit. "I know some people will question my decision to attend the gathering of investors at the White House," Case wrote in a blog post on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. "I have long advocated for leaders of any kind to engage if given the opportunity."
Technology company leaders have recoiled from the president’s position on various issues, including his efforts to limit immigration and his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords. In contrast to the White House, venture capitalists have backed greater investments in technologies aligned with the climate treaty’s goals to reduce global greenhouse gases and many startups are fighting for more visas to help buttress their employee talent.
During the event on Thursday, Trump played with a drone, "engaged in a demonstration on 5G internet, and discussed how the government can better regulate and encourage investments in companies building drones, connected devices and web infrastructure," according to Buzzfeed.
Partners of venture capital firms, including Accel Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, stated they couldn't show up to the event because of scheduling conflicts, Bloomberg reported. Sequoia Capital was also invited, but no representative appeared; they declined to comment to Bloomberg. "Others who planned to attend Thursday’s session, including Lightspeed Ventures’ founding partner Barry Eggers, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on their decisions," Bloomberg reported.