Stephen Ellison

$10,000 to Leave the Bay Area? Startup Makes Bold Offer

A Silicon Valley startup launched by three former Google co-workers is offering $10,000 to people if they move away from the Bay Area.

Stay tuned for the proviso.

San Jose-based MainStreet, founded by Doug Ludlow, Dan Lindquist and Daniel Griffin, says it helps people find jobs that allow them to live in cities they can afford by working remotely. The company's mission is to create jobs in rural and suburban communities, and it makes money when it connects workers from those communities with companies in need of remote talent.

Ludlow, the CEO, says they've already been flooded with applications.

"In less than one day, we have hundreds of people applying already," he said. "By the end of the week, it will be thousands."

MainStreet says it is going to create more than a million Silicon Valley jobs in those suburban and rural communities over the next decade.

As it launches, MainStreet says it will defer its fees in the form of a $10,000 check to members who move out of the Bay Area. But there's a catch: To collect the money, a person needs to become a MainStreet member and work out of one of the company's offices for at least a year.

"It's been about, 'Well, I want to buy a house' or 'I want better schools for my kids.' Ten thousand dollars is a nice gimmick to get people's attention," Ludlow said. "But once people learn about what we're doing and our mission, what we can actually do for them is the driving incentive."

Initially, MainStreet is focusing on tech workers, but it may expand into finance and law in the future, the company says.

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