Telosa City and Launching a $500b Startup with’s Marc Lore | The Masters of Scale Podcast

After leaving Walmart as head of e-commerce earlier this year, founder Marc Lore is now making bold bets like purchasing the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and building a $500b “Telosa” city in the desert.


It’s easier to go after a big idea than a small one.

 •  Even after exiting and with a $4 Billion net worth, Marc is motivated by one challenge; building something from nothing.
 •  He prefers grand ideas to ordinary ones. While many entrepreneurs usually start with small-focused ideas and scale them, Marc believes chasing big ideas is better.
 •  He thinks starting and building smaller companies that make ~$1 million profit per year is more challenging than building multi-billion dollar companies.
 •  With big ideas, there are fewer players and low competition.

Marc is building Telosa, a new type of city.

 •  The idea was inspired by his frustrations with capitalism and people getting left behind (poverty) after reading the book ‘progress and poverty by Henry George. He thought this was how he could test a new type of society.
 •  Starting with people at the centre of the vision rather than tech, with strong values, Marc thinks they can create the most open, fair and inclusive city in the world.
 •  The city will be community-owned. This is a not for profit project.
 •  If the city thrives, the land it’s built on could be worth $1T. The community can then sell the land for $50b a year and use the revenue to provide the most advanced social services for its citizens in the world.
 •  Telosa will be powered by 100% renewable energy making it self-sufficient and completely sustainable.

Deciding what to invest in

 •  Marc Lore invests in founders with big visions and ideas that will require $10m, $50m, or multi $100m, and three rounds of financing.
 •  The ideas he invests in are the ones worth $100b or more.
 •  He works with founders of any industry as long as the idea is big enough.


 •  I always come from the point of view that it’s easier to do a big idea than a small idea – Marc Lore.
 •  To our knowledge, no city that’s been built has really started with a mission and state of values with people at the centre – Marc Lore.
 •  The best way to get over your sad idea that didn’t make it is to have another one that’s exciting and interesting – Jennifer Lopez

Actionable Advice

How to set the foundations of a strong company

 •  Marc uses the VCP framework – Vision, Capital and People, in that order
 •  When companies get this right, everything else falls into place
 •  With Mission + Values on one side of the fence & Strategy + Vision on the other
 •  Mission + Values = Gives people an emotional connection to the company. Like ‘why you exist’, ‘what gets you up in the morning’, and what you value as an organisation. Your reputation, brand and founding culture are formed from mission and values.
 •  Marc believes any more than three values is dilutive rather than value-adding.
 •  Vision + Strategy = How you’ll win and what your venture looks like when you get there. You want to find 3 – 5 core strategies that’ll take you to your vision measured by metrics and executed with tactics that’ll make it happen.
 •  Strategies set your foundations. Test and get these right before making big moves, significant hires, capital investments and so on.
 •  Marc related this to basketball training where players make 1000’s of air shots to work on technique before shooting with a ball.

How to choose your investments

 •  When funding other ventures, Marc only bets big and goes early
 •  He’s comfortable investing in founders with just an idea and vision
 •  They must be shooting for the moon, so if they miss, chances are the investment will turn out reasonably well anyway.
 •  When founders piss around with small ideas and miss, your investment goes typically to zero.


Marc Lore | LinkedIn
Telosa – Telosa (
Rapid Response: Launching a $500b startup, w/’s Marc Lore – Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman | Podcast on Spotify
Progress and poverty | Henry George

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