From the first Axios BFD, Keith Lavoie talks about Miami technology, AI, Sam Altman, and more

Written by Nancy Dahlberg

The Coconut Grove waterfront was the backdrop for the first Axios BFD event in Miami. Tuesday afternoon’s show was aptly named by Axios Business editor Dan Primack, his Khosla Ventures general and his capital piper, as he accurately called Keith Rabois, his partner in Miami technology and ventures. It started on. .

In an onstage interview with Primack, Lavoie quickly debunked the perception that “everyone is moving back to California.” “No one leaves Florida to go to California. It’s a fiction and literally no one exists. The online immigration here is overwhelming… every single professional or professional person I’ve ever met in my life. I can literally only name one person who was in Miami and came back.”

Incidentally, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also commented on the city’s recent immigration in his opening remarks: Just ask Tom Brady. Just ask Orlando Bravo. Just ask Ken Griffin. Just ask Leo Messi, who gave up $250 million a year to choose Miami. ”

Turning to the topic of ventures, Lavoie said the following about the rapid increase in startups that “utilize AI.” Fortunately, I am now at a company that is pioneering investments in AI. We are the only institutional investor in OpenAI and have managing directors and partners who are experts in AI. We’re leaning towards AI, and we have the expertise to do that, to be able to tell the real from the fake, and most companies can’t do that. ”

Lavoie said AI innovation dates back to 2012 to 2015. Fast-track followers such as startups reinventing law, accounting and healthcare through AI may be interesting, but “the fundamental principles, the people actually doing the startups that drive AI, that’s not the case right now. That innovation was already baked in.”

Lavoie also said that if Sam Altman hadn’t returned to OpenAI (founded in 2015), “it would literally be zero.” One of his themes for investing in OpenAI was, “We’re investing in Sam.” “

He was asked about the biggest difference in investing between Vinod Khosla and Peter Thiel of Founders Fund, the fund that Lavoie recently left to return to Khosla Ventures. “Vinod is a technology investor who understands the immediate impact of new technology and how it can transform an industry. Peter is more of a founder-driven investor; He’s also a great business strategist. XY and Z are what’s going to take this business to the moon.”

When asked why he took on the dual role of venture capitalist and CEO of Miami-based OpenStore, he said, “Because I’m crazy…The trade-offs of being a CEO are very real. I’m available 24/7. You can’t be in an office, serve on more than 10 boards, and find new entrepreneurs every day. So you have to add enough value to offset that, and that’s a challenge,” Lavoie said of the company. He said he will continue to lead the e-commerce startup he co-founded as long as it is in innovation mode, leaving execution mode to others who are better at it. “I think I’m pretty good at problem solving in innovation mode. We need to solve problems that no one has figured out how to do before.”

Primack asked for their thoughts on the usefulness of venture capitalists to founders. “The reality is there are five to 10 VCs that are very helpful to entrepreneurs,” Lavoie said. name? “I’ve had them on the boards of the companies I’ve worked with. My idea is to go find the best VCs who can give me advice and feedback.”

Events continue to feature the world of restaurants (Michelle Bernstein), the world of cruising (Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Christine Duffy), the world of motorsports (F1 Miami Grand Prix President Tyler Epp, MSP Sports Capital CEO A discussion was held from CEO Jeff Mourad. We talked about how Drive to Survive excited U.S. audiences, plans for the upcoming Miami F1 event, and how the sport ultimately became an asset class. Rounding out the afternoon was Jared Kushner, who said he is fully committed to his new career running Affinity Partners. He founded a private equity firm in 2021 and has no intention of returning to the White House if Donald Trump is elected.

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