Silicon Valley may not like Trump, but 'they can't just stay in their own little world,' investor says


Silicon Valley should be warming up to some of President Donald Trump's policies by now, and they have a responsibility to cooperate, one technology investor said.

"Silicon Valley has to engage," Eric Hippeau, managing partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures, told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Wednesday. "They can't just live in their own little world."

Many in California's technology hotbed remain vocally opposed to Trump's stances on immigration and civil rights. At Uber, for example, protesters blocked employees from entering the headquarters during Trump's inauguration, with sighs reading, "Uber collaborates with Trump."

Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, center, listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.
Evan Vucci | AP

"I do not accept him as my leader," Uber's chief technology officer reportedly said of Trump, in an email obtained by Business Insider.

Uber told CNBC that the company will work with the Trump Administration, just as it did the Obama administration. Hippeau, whose firm has invested in companies like Birchbox, The Huffington Post, Venmo and Warby Parker, said that they should collaborate, especially on issues like immigration, which is important to technology companies.

"Silicon Valley is still in a little bit of a bubble," Hippeau said. "They're still kind of like, in 'the opposition.' Individually, people should feel the way they feel, there's no question. But companies have a responsibility to work with any administration, including this one."

Proposals for lower corporate tax rates and a holiday to bring back overseas cash should be especially helpful to technology executives, many of whom do business overseas. Technology companies also have an opportunity to cash in on a wave of infrastructure spending that Trump has promised, Hippeau said.

Technology entrepreneur Mark Cuban seems to agree. He tweeted Wednesday that America needs "To invest in infrastructure that supports an enables the future, not projects that tie us to a less competitive past." Education and broadband internet deployment are also areas where the U.S. lags, Hippeau said.

"It's not just building bridges or repairing our roads," Hippeau said. "We've got to put tech everywhere to make society work much better"

Kara Swisher, executive editor at technology blog and CNBC partner Recode, wrote this week that technology executives should be more courageous and stand up for their beliefs, against Trump. But Hippeau said he doesn't see that approach being helpful.

"People will feel better individually, but it's certainly not going to help their companies, or the shareholders of their companies," Hippeau said.

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