- Former Walmart exec Marc Lore wants to build a futuristic utopia called Telosa.
- Telosa will be built on the concept of “equitism,” a mash-up of equality and capitalism.
- There will be an application for the first 50,000 Telosa “settlers,” who could move in by 2030.
If Marc Lore’s vision comes to fruition, 50,000 residents could be living in a egalitarian utopia by 2030.
Lore, who stepped down as CEO of Walmart’s US e-commerce division earlier this year, announced last month that he plans to build a futuristic city known as Telosa. Telosa – which gets its name from an Ancient Greek word meaning “highest purpose” – plans to offer its citizens equal access to education, healthcare, and transportation. Residents will get around in autonomous vehicles and the city will run on renewable energy, Telosa’s website promises.
While citizens of Telosa will be able to build their own homes and sell them, the city will maintain ownership of the land itself, Lore told USA Today’s Scott Gleeson on Sunday. He calls his vision for the city “equitism” – a mash-up of equality and capitalism.
“The sole purpose of creating a city in the desert would be so it’s owned by the community, basically take all the appreciation of the land and give it back to the citizens,” Lore told USA Today. “Taxes paid will go back to the city for infrastructure – roads, tunnels and bridges – so everyone would know exactly where their money is going.”
It’s an ambitious endeavor, and an expensive one: the city’s website estimates the first phase will cost $US25 ($AU34) billion, with the total cost of the city surpassing $US400 ($AU539) billion. It will be funded by investors and philanthropists, as well as government grants and subsidies, according to the Telosa website.
There’s no set location for Telosa just yet, but a few regions have been mentioned as possibilities: Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, and the Appalachian Region, which includes 13 states in the eastern part of the US.
The first phase of Telosa – stocking the city with 50,000 residents by 2030 – will likely include an application process, Lore told USA Today.
“Settlers” of the city will be chosen via a selection process focused on diversity and inclusion, he said, and he’s working to determine the criteria with the help of a team of staff and volunteers that includes architects, economists, engineers, climate experts, and more.
Lore told USA Today that he also plans to build a venture capital fund for startups willing to relocate to Telosa.
In renderings of Telosa created by the prestigious Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the streets are filled with robots and autonomous vehicles, there’s a high-speed rail system, and a futuristic skyscraper – dubbed “Equitism Tower,” according to USA Today – dominates the skyline.
Telosa may be Lore’s most radical undertaking to date, but he has a long history of entrepreneurial projects. In 2005, Lore cofounded Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com, which he sold to Amazon six years later for $US500 ($AU674) million. After a short stint at Amazon, Lore founded Jet.com, an e-commerce competitor that he sold to Walmart in 2016 for $US3 ($AU4) billion in cash, plus stock. He served as Walmart’s US e-commerce CEO for over four years, announcing in January 2021 that he was leaving to focus on building “a reformed version of capitalism,” he told Recode at the time.
Like fellow tech billionaires Mark Cuban, Steve Ballmer, and the late Paul Allen, Lore has also gotten involved in the world of professional sports: In July, Lore and former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez teamed up to purchase the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.