Roe reversal weighs heavily on emerging tech cities in red states

On June 24, Khadijah Robinson planned to offer a woman a job.

As founder of the Atlanta-based tech startup Nile, she spent three years scaling the platform, which connects consumers to Black online businesses. That Friday, she was thrilled to finally find someone willing to relocate from California to Georgia to help grow the company.

By early afternoon, the offer was on hold. The U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade just a few hours before and that worried Robinson. Although Atlanta is a blue tech city — meaning its politics skew liberal — it sits within the overall more conservative red state of Georgia, whose governor is already making plans to implement abortion restrictions in the state. Robinson spent the rest of the day reassessing her new reality.

“As a founder and CEO, I now have to think long and hard about asking women to relocate to a state that will likely legislate against them very soon,” she tweeted. “I’m so tired.”

“It’s going to be hard to ask women to come to a place where they might very well be risking their lives.” Nile founder Khadijah Robinson

TechCrunch conducted a vibe check with founders like Robinson who are based in blue emerging tech cities situated within red states. Historically, technology hubs leaned liberal and were nested in reliably blue states like California or New York. That started to change these past five years, which saw places like Austin, Miami and Atlanta become hot spots for tech talent — a trend that only accelerated as remote work swept the nation.

The recent increase in conservative legislation and political division could again affect the landscape, deterring skilled workers from migrating to these hubs and causing an exodus of talent from red states. In particular, the reluctance of women to relocate to blue cities within red states could contribute to a reversal in overall diversity within certain sectors.