Why now for new cities? Why now for DoubleGDP?
The purpose of a company is meant to be a guiding light for “why” the organization needs to exist and its efforts will be worthwhile.
Sharing the belief that the world needs more great places to live is something goes far beyond DoubleGDP. It links us and our efforts while we work together to build something much bigger than us.
Our name is inspired by the scale of economic growth that researchers believe could be possible if people could move to places most meet their needs.
In particular, these researchers see barriers to labor mobility as exponentially more impactful on GDP than barriers to trade or capital flows. Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development in Washington DC gathered estimates from several of these researchers showing that limits to trade put a 0.3% to 4.1% drag on the world economy. For mobility, its 67-147% of the world economy. That’s 2x the GDP.
Our purpose will likely outlast us. It’s something that can drive the pursuit of new opportunities for decades, certainly, and a hundred more years beyond that.
So beyond that purpose, we need to ask ourselves “why now?” Why focus on new cities - now? And why will software make a difference for these new cities - now?
As we see it, six forces need to work together in new cities and new communities to enable the type of economic growth that these researchers and policy leaders hope for through increased mobility. Other entrepreneurs and leaders are working on five of these forces. In many cases, we’re supporting those efforts in other ways - through our other companies, as advisors to their leaders and as donors.
With these other efforts moving forward and showing great progress, we think there’s now a specific opportunity that we’re best fit to pursue as a software company.
New cities need a good legal framework.
With the Charter Cities Institute, there’s a great way to achieve that.
As the leading think tank supporting the development of charter cities, the Institute is working across governments, real estate developers, the international development community and the entrepreneurial ecosystem to ensure that these communities can become established, operate efficiently and prosper in the long term.
We partner closely with the Charter Cities Institute in all of our work.
New cities need jobs.
All-remote work cultures will play a very important role in the next generation of job growth for new communities.
We’ve seen the impact of all-remote work on people and communities first hand, and we’re believers in its potential. DoubleGDP’s founding investor, Sid Sijbrandij, is also the co-founder and CEO of GitLab. GitLab has 892 employees across 58 countries, with no offices. It’s growing incredibly fast.
DoubleGDP is an all-remote company, too. We’re trying to learn from these best practices and pass them forward.
People in new cities need the resources to learn the skills for these jobs.
Stipends for learning and new models of education are beginning to make a big difference in who can afford to get the training that enables these cities and workforces to thrive.
Lambda School, in combination with stipends - is proving that there are successful models for this across all sorts of cities in the US and beyond. They offer people the ability to take the time off work and family duties to get training that opens up new careers and grows economic potential.
We’re supporters and advisors for Lambda School - and we’re big fans.
New cities need great internet.
To make these new types of jobs possible and these new education models work, these cities need a way to get affordable modern communications infrastructure with broadband-like speeds to communities even if they’re far away from the urban cores of their countries.
New cities need real estate investors who believe in their potential.
Investors with a long-term orientation to growth, one that goes beyond the build and sell model of so much development. Visionary real estate developers are learning from several other generations of planned community development, and building from that experience.
We’re working closely with Mwiya Musokotwane of Thebe Investment Management on the city they’re developing in Zambia. In Nkwashi, we see this kind of long-term orientation, support for new approaches to technology and governance, and focus on the values of the community. They’re a great example of what’s possible.
New cities need to be run greatly.
Our software is going to help with that.
This is our role. We get to help make these other efforts meet their goals.
DoubleGDP’s software helps these new cities deliver their community and municipal services in more effective, more efficient and more responsive ways - so people actually get the growth they’re seeking.