‘Ties with Trump family got a startup Apple, Microsoft stature’
Washington, July 16 (IANS): Connections with the Trump family gave a start-up the access to a White House roundtable where CEOs of several tech giants, including Apple and Microsoft, were present with US President Donald Trump last month, a media report said.
According to the revelation by the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, venture-capital firm OpenGov’s CEO attended the roundtable “American Technology Council” in June that was organised by White House Senior Adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Top technology industry leaders from companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, among others, were invited in the event that was organised by the White House Office of American Innovation to focus on methods of modernising government technology and increasing cybersecurity measures.
OpenGov CEO Zachary Bookman sat on the Council alongside the tech titans who have an average market value of $250 billion.
OpenGov, which sells management software primarily to state and city governments, was valued most recently at $180 million, making it by far the smallest firm at the meeting.
The report said that OpenGov is funded in part by the venture capital firm Thrive Capital. Thrive is run by Joshua Kushner, who is the brother of Jared Kushner.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Jared Kushner was formerly a board member and investor at Thrive but sold his stake to his brother earlier this year.
“OpenGov’s inclusion could be seen as giving it a competitive advantage by raising its profile and influence and the invite raised eyebrows for those concerned about conflicts of interest in a White House full of businesspeople and wealthy investors,” a report in Fortune pointed out.
The incident “seems like a textbook example of cronyism in action”, the Wall Street Journal quoted a law professor as saying.