Tech | October 23, 2017 9:00 am

The iPhone Co-Creator’s Plans to Take on Silicon Valley From Paris

Tony Fadell is building his tech empire in the City of Lights to have more control over his ideas.

Tony Fadell
Designer Tony Fadell speaks onstage "The Power Of Design With Tony Fadell And Jared Leto" at The Fast Company Innovation Festival on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Fast Company)

Tony Fadell co-invented the iPod and iPhone. After that, he ventured out on his own to build the Nest thermostat, a system that would connect every device in your house. He has a lot of money and is ready to invest it. But is next project may just be the biggest, and hardest, task yet: Taking on Silicon Valley from Paris.

According to a new profile on Fadell by Wiredthe tech tycoon does not have a good relationship with Silicon Valley.

Wired digs deeply into this, but the short version is that Fadell tangled with companies there twice and lost. First, there was Apple. Fadell co-created the iPod and the iPhone, and started out on great terms with Steve Jobs, Wired writes. Some even thought Fadell would take Jobs’ place when he resigned. But by the time the iPhone was ready to launch, Fadell was “no longer the golden boy,” according to Wired. So Fadell left, and he and his wife, Danielle Lambert packed up their things and their kids and traveled. They liked Paris best, so they settled there.

But then Fadell wanted to build the Nest thermostat. He moved back to Silicon Valley to build it with former colleague Matt Rogers. Google bought Nest outright for $3.2 billion and the company moved to effectively live inside Google, reports Wired. But Google became Alphabet, who, in 2015, decided to sell Nest, and Fadell left. He returned to Paris for good, reports Wired, to run Future Shape, his fund, which is estimated to be worth between $500 million and $1 billion.

Wired writes that Fadell was “grievously hurt by the Silicon Valley system — exploited and then betrayed, twice.” He is now trying to change the Silicon Valley-centric system that forced him to separate from his ideas and creations.

“Tony meets more American tech people in Paris than in the U.S.,” French tech mogul Xavier Niel told Wired. “Because if you are a big US tech manager, you come to Paris at least one or two times a year—and when they do, they all call Tony!”