"ValueBase Secures Funding with $1.6 Million Seed Round Led by Sam Altman's Hydrazine"
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, believes that artificial intelligence has the potential to bring about great prosperity, but he also believes that this prosperity should be shared equally among society.
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, believes that artificial intelligence has the potential to bring about great prosperity, but he also believes that this prosperity should be shared equally among society. To achieve this, he supports the ideas of political economist Henry George from the 19th century. George believed that equality could be maintained if the economic value of land was owned by everyone in society.
Similarly, Altman believes that in a future where jobs may not provide much economic value, a tax on land could compensate for income tax and ensure that everyone's assets grow as the value of land, a fixed asset, increases. He is putting his money where his mouth is by investing in a startup called ValueBase, which represents a step in that direction.
ValueBase aims to create mass appraisal models and property valuations using land-first models. It plans to gather data from various sources such as weather balloons and aerial photography vendors and feed it into its algorithm to automate the appraisal process for municipal property tax assessors who are still relying on pen and paper and focus more on buildings than on the land where they are located.
ValueBase co-founder Lars Doucet explains that by focusing on the land first, the company can get more accurate appraisals as it has more access to the land's characteristics such as distance to schools, noise levels, pollution, and view. This approach can also help tax assessors make a more clear case to property owners about why a property has been given a specific value. ValueBase could also become valuable to cities as many tax assessors retire. The company's strategy will also allow it to access valuable data which it can use to create more commercial applications, such as for mortgage lenders and brokerages.
ValueBase's ultimate goal is to pave the way for public works in specific locations by learning as much as possible about every parcel of land in the US and beyond. Currently, the company only employs four people spread across North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas, but if Altman is right about the rapid pace of change, that could change in the future.
Altman's fund, Hydrazine Capital, led the $1.6 million investment round in ValueBase, along with former Github CEO Nat Friedman, serial entrepreneurs Sahil Lavingia, Erik Torenberg, and others.