By Thanasis Delistathis and John Backus, New Atlantic Ventures

Ask most in the venture capital ecosystem for their take on the issue of gender diversity and you’ll get a mixed reaction. Some men avoid the topic for fear of stepping on a land mine. Some women tell us it’s passé. We hear that the tech industry has a big problem. For us, the topic of diversity isn’t an issue to simply brush under the rug. The trouble is, the topic can be tough to talk about. But if we do, it opens up the chance to help everyone figure out why the gender balance is off and how to potentially change the ratio.

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NVCA is dedicated to advancing diversity throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We believe in the value of public and private sector collaboration to develop and discuss solutions that promote the importance of diversity to the innovation ecosystem.  Last week, we joined Empowered Women, a nonprofit focused on convening next-gen women leaders, for Hacking the New Economy, a discussion on public policies that can empower women in the new economy. Read more »

The NVCA CFO Task Force comprised of around 100 CFOs from NVCA member firms has long played a critical role in driving our work with auditors and the various regulatory bodies that shape auditing and accounting policies and practices related to the VC industry and its portfolio companies.

A recent focus of this important NVCA peer group has been closely following the implementation of new Fair Value accounting rules since 2008.  Specifically, they have concentrated on how auditors of venture funds treat the values assigned to investments classified as “Level 3 assets,” a category that includes nearly all venture funds assets.     Read more »

This week, the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Diversity Task Force together with Dow Jones VentureSource, and CrunchBase have launched the 2015 Venture Census to take on the critical challenge of measuring the demographics of the U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystem. We invite every employee of venture capital firms and startups to participate in the 2015 Venture Census to anonymously contribute data about their personal and professional backgrounds. Read more »

A few years ago at the strong behest of NVCA and others, the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), the parent organization to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), created the Private Company Council (PCC) to ensure that the reporting and disclosure needs of private companies were reflected in accounting policy.  As a part of the PCC’s establishment, the FAF Trustees mandated a three year review in which it would reach out for input from various constituencies. Read more »

Speaking before an audience of diverse entrepreneurs and investors at the 18th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit, Ray Leach, NVCA Board Member and NVCA Diversity Task Force Member, made clear the future of innovation depends on expanding opportunities for women and minorities in the venture capital and innovation ecosystems. In The Huffington Post yesterday, Ray wrote about the realities of the lack of diversity in the venture capital industry and NVCA’s focus on creating new pathways for women and minorities to succeed in venture capital and as entrepreneurs.

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On an annual basis, the venture capital industry collectively invests in 3,000-4,000 companies and about one-quarter of those investments go to companies that are raising their first round of venture capital. In 2014, venture capitalists invested in 4,356 companies and 1,409 were first-time fundings. How did these entrepreneurs cross the finish line and what’s their next mountain to climb? At NVCA, we launched Office Hours to connect entrepreneurs and VCs to help high growth companies make the ascent.

Office Hours takes place in the midst of VentureScape, NVCA’s annual conference that convenes over 700 venture capital investors, business and political leaders, limited partners, regional venture capital associations, venture-backed companies, essential service providers, universities and the media. Beyond participating in Office Hours, entrepreneurs join all of VentureScape programming from May 6-7, including the After Hours evening event.

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Now that the Republican Congress is moving forward quickly on patent litigation reform, policymakers must consider the impact of patent reform on the innovation economy. In January, NVCA, along with a broad coalition of universities, non-profit foundations, start-ups, small businesses, manufacturing, technology, and life sciences companies sent a letter to leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees conveying the importance of taking a balanced approach that will stem abusive patent practices while protecting the rights of current patent holders. However, the re-introduction of House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA), the Innovation Act, H.R. 9, revives the same concerns from last Congress’ debate, without taking into consideration recent developments that have significantly reduced patent litigation filings.

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Next week, ARPA-E will host its sixth annual conference and technology showcase convening energy experts and entrepreneurs for three-days focused on moving disruptive energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  We spoke with Dr. Cheryl Martin, Deputy Director for Commercialization at the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) for her perspective on the mission of the Summit and what’s new this year. Dr. Martin leads ARPA-E’s Technology-to-Market program, which helps breakthrough energy technologies succeed in the marketplace. Read more »