Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Jewish Business News

Leadership & A-List

Billionaire Carl Berg Sings Praises of Tech Investments, Real Estate, Common Sense

Carl Berg Courtesy of Mission West Properties

Carl Berg, a Silicon Valley real estate mogul and venture capitalist, recently sat down for an interview for the February issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine. Here are some excerpts:

Q: What was your best investment?

Please help us out :
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at office@jewishbusinessnews.com.
Thank you.

A: Sun Microsystems. Scott McNealy, the founder, was a manager at one of my venture investments and wanted me to be the first investor. In 1982, for $1 million, I got 25 percent of Sun at 25 cents a share.

Q: You also made a fortune on tech real estate. How?

A: For decades, if you did anything in a decent location, the question was, Will you lease your building today or next week? A market like that just doesn’t exist many places.

Q: You’ve sold most of your portfolio. Why?

A: I built mostly one- and two-story structures. High-rises get very expensive very quickly. I wasn’t comfortable with that market and saw things going that way.

Q: What have you retained?

A: The Silicon Valley campuses of Apple and Microsoft. The combined square footage is about 1.1 million.

Q: You own a possible van Gogh?

A: It’s either a van Gogh or a van Goo. I bought it at auction in 1997 for $315, 000. Half the art world said it was an absolute fraud; half said it’s probably something. There’s still a chance it’s real.

Q: So what’s the safer play: Treasuries or a Picasso?

A: If it’s a real Picasso, that could be very safe. The art market has gone up, consistently and dramatically.

Q: More multiple choice: gold, bonds or hedge funds?

A: Gold. Right now, I think we’re very close to the bottom, so it’s got a relatively small downside and an awful big upside.

Q: What’s been your worst investment?

A: The battery company Valence Technology. I’ve been in it 22 years, and we’ve never made a profit. It drives me crazy. My goal in life is to make that damn company profitable.

Q: Do you miss owning San Jose’s soccer team?

A: It was a lot of fun, but I lost an incredible amount of money. I’ll never touch a sports team again. You’ve got to be insane.

Q: Any other lessons from your playbook?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

A: Common sense is more important than anything else. And I’m not afraid to ask a question that’s a stupid question.

Newsletter



Advertisement

You May Also Like

World News

In the 15th Nov 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:   ·         A new Israeli treatment brings hope to relapsed leukemia...

Entertainment

The Movie The Professional is what made Natalie Portman a Lolita.

Travel

After two decades without a rating system in Israel, at the end of 2012 an international tender for hotel rating was published.  Invited to place bids...

VC, Investments

You may not become a millionaire, but there is a lot to learn from George Soros.