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.

One of the things we heard from Office Hours participants last year was that they wanted even more opportunity to connect with a greater number of VCs and their fellow entrepreneurs. We listened!

Now in its third year, Office Hours 3.0 will feature a series of interactive workshops led by multiple VCs and seasoned venture-backed entrepreneurs. John Backus, founder and Managing Partner of New Atlantic Ventures, the 2015 Office Hours Chair and NVCA Board Member, will facilitate these workshops. Office Hours entrepreneurs will participate in the Venture Capital Workshop, the Entrepreneurs Workshop and a sector-by-sector mixer to get to know a range of venture capital investors.

So far, we have announced an incredible line-up of Office Hours Workshop leaders. Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder of CloudFlare and Marcela Sapone, co-founder and CEO of Alfred will lead the Entrepreneurs Workshop. Nina Kjellson, General Partner at InterWest Partners, a VC firm focused on early stage IT and healthcare investing and Hamet Watt, Partner at Upfront Ventures, which invests in seed and early stage technology companies will lead the Venture Capital Workshop.

Our partner American Airlines is committed to ensuring entrepreneurs who are building companies in cities across the U.S. and Canada have the chance to travel to San Francisco for Office Hours. The first 80 entrepreneurs accepted to Office Hours from the U.S. and Canada are eligible to receive sponsored flights through the American Airlines Innovators Initiative.  Last year, entrepreneurs from Louisville, Atlanta, Santa Barbara, Miami, San Diego, Toronto, New York and other cities converged on VentureScape for Office Hours, and this year we look forward to meeting many more.

Are you an entrepreneur interested in participating in Office Hours 3.0? Apply here to participate.

Our rolling application process launched last week, and closes on March 27. All applications must be received by Friday, March 27, 2015 to be considered. Those accepted will be notified by email no later than April 6, 2015 and asked to pay the registration fee at that time to confirm their participation. Office Hours entrepreneurs will pay a reduced rate of $575.00 to attend Office Hours and all of the VentureScape programming, including After Hours at Tank18’s Wine Tasting Room in San Francisco.


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 »

As the Obama Administration begins to sketch out the details of the President’s executive order on immigration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested that interested stakeholders submit their recommendations on how best to implement the president’s proposed reforms.

With immigration reform having long been a top priority of NVCA, we wasted no time in engaging our member firms and their portfolio companies to develop and submit our own recommendations on behalf of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Read more »

Like clockwork, with each new Congress comes a renewed push to embark on a wholesale rewrite of our nation’s tax code. Sure enough, the start of the 114th Congress is proving no different. Not only did President Obama touch on his priorities for tax reform in his State of the Union address last night, but the Senate Finance Committee recently announced the formation of five bipartisan working groups to develop concepts for a tax reform proposal. All of this comes after Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the newly minted Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced his own intentions to proceed with a separate tax reform proposal in the House after he took over the gavel of the chamber’s tax-writing committee. Read more »

With more than 2 million net square feet of exhibit space, over 160,000 attendees and an entire show floor, awards ceremony, and conference program dedicated to the innovation ecosystem, the International CES® continues to prove why it’s one of the most relevant innovation and technology shows in the world. Read more »

Based in Independence, Ohio, MainStreet Inclusion Advisors (MSIA) is a national consultancy and entrepreneurial development firm specializing in connecting historically disconnected and underserved populations. Whether entrepreneurs or investors seek deal flow, capital or talent, MSIA focuses on building bridges between minority communities and mainstream communities.   Read more »

As part of our series featuring leaders in innovation during Global Entrepreneurship Week, we spoke with Eric Hauck, the Director of Impact Hub in Barcelona, Spain. Impact Hub is a global network of social innovation incubators with 7,000 members in more than 60 cities worldwide. In Barcelona, the Impact Hub is based in the Plaza Real amid the city’s historic gothic quarter, which is the cultural heart of one of the world’s most visited destinations.   Read more »

Last night President Obama announced his executive action to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Key provisions of the Executive Order benefit the innovation ecosystem and represent a victory for NVCA.  Here is a short recap of the provisions that relate to high-skilled immigrant entrepreneurs, the venture capital industry and why this is such an important achievement for NVCA. Read more »