No Room for Harassment in our Industry

by & filed under Diversity, NVCA Blog.

Bobby Franklin

In the past several days, the brave testimonials of Niniane Wang, Susan Ho, and Leiti Hsu have drawn a sharp focus on the unacceptable sexual harassment and misconduct of Justin Caldbeck. This behavior has no room in our industry and opened a critical discussion about how we can work together to make systemic changes to ensure that anyone working in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is not subjected to this type of behavior in the future. NVCA strongly condemns sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination of any form.

Leaders in the industry have come forward with action-oriented perspectives about how to advance inclusion and end harassment in the venture ecosystem. While there may be disagreement and debate on the most productive approaches, there should be no debate about the end goal. (more…)

Emerging Managers are Pushing the VC Industry Forward

by & filed under Diversity, Ecosystems, NVCA Blog.

Devin Miller

The formation of new venture capital funds is critical to the future of innovation. What does it take to become a venture capital investor? Emerging managers—teams raising their first venture capital funds—face myriad challenges in the process of getting their first funds off the ground. Which limited partners should Emerging Managers target? What are the best approaches to developing and articulating an investment thesis? How can fund managers approach building a top-flight team of investors, advisers and experts? Very few succeed. According to the 2017 NVCA Yearbook, commitments to venture capital funds reached a ten-year high, with 253 venture capital funds raising 41.6 billion last year. Of all funds raised in 2016, only nine percent were first-time funds. (more…)

NVCA Provides Resources and Insights for New VCs

by & filed under Ecosystems, Events, NVCA Blog.

Jessica Straus

Last week, NVCA held a digital class on Successful Fundraiser’s Philosophy: How Micro VCs Get Off the Ground & Succeed. With micro VC funds playing an important role in the startup lifecycle—micro VC funds closing in 2016 finished with $1.5 billion in commitments, according to PitchBook—NVCA and our members are an important resource for new fund managers who are getting off the ground and learning to navigate the fundraising process. The formation of new venture capital funds is critical to the future of innovation, and NVCA was pleased to be able to provide the ecosystem with tools and insights to help expand the VC community.

We began the webinar with an insider’s perspective from Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures on how micro VC is evolving and what were some of the lessons that she learned from the process of raising her first institutional fund. Padnos described what it was like for her to launch a new VC firm, from Illuminate’s proof of concept fund, to how she brought in original investors and how the success of that fund helped her close Illuminate’s Fund 1 in 2013, from which Illuminate has made 15 investments and so far has had 3 M&A exits. (more…)

Fostering Talent, Competitiveness and Diversity through Mentorship

by & filed under Corporate Venture, Diversity, NVCA Blog.

Jessica Straus

A thriving innovation ecosystem depends on building diverse and competitive teams. Competing for top talent is one of the biggest challenges facing venture capital and corporate venture capital teams. These challenges beg the question: How can venture investors keep up with the increased demand for top talent? Mentorship programs are one of the proven ways to attract and retain top talent, which foster both individual talent development and team competitiveness, diversity, and development.

This year, the NVCA Corporate Venture Group (CVG) launched the Corporate Venture Mentorship Program in the first quarter of 2017 to build connections between experienced and new corporate venture investors. This pilot program helped forge new connections among corporate venture investors across the country to foster a more engaged innovation ecosystem. (more…)

NVCA Brings VC and DC Together at Annual Meeting

by & filed under Events, Issues, NVCA Blog.

Ben Veghte

It has been one week since the venture capital community convened in Washington, D.C. at the 2017 NVCA Annual Meeting and everyone is still buzzing from the event and our new format.

We rewrote the script for this year’s event to focus exclusively on policy and direct engagement with policymakers to advance a pro-innovation agenda that supports new company creation. Crucial to that mission was moving the Annual Meeting to our nation’s capital. (more…)

Ecosystem Spotlight: A Bright Future for Emerging Wisconsin

by & filed under Ecosystems, NVCA Blog.

Devin Miller

When Greg Robinson decided he wanted to create a new venture capital firm, he wanted to build it in a place with an abundance of momentum and entrepreneurship, and a great interest in tech and disruption. But the place he decided to build his new venture firm—the area with those qualities he deemed key to success—was not sunny Silicon Valley, bustling New York or dynamic Boston. Instead, Robinson launched 4490 Ventures in Madison, Wisconsin.

Longtime Wisconsin venture capitalist John Neis of Madison-based Venture Investors, himself a Wisconsin native, certainly understands the feeling about Wisconsin’s startup ecosystem that drew Robinson to the cheese state. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Neis felt that there was tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurship in his home state, especially with a top research university like the University of Wisconsin. (more…)

Having a Talent Strategy Makes a Difference

by & filed under Diversity, Events, NVCA Blog.

Jessica Straus

Diversity is core to competitiveness. A 2014 Harvard Business School study, The Cost of Friendship, found that success rates of entrepreneurs diminish when co-investors have similar backgrounds and experiences. As an industry, we have a lot of work to do, and NVCA is committed to helping investors and entrepreneurs build diverse, competitive teams.

Last week, the NVCA team, our members, and partners Deloitte, Proskauer Rose, Silicon Valley Bank, Miller Law Group and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center joined together to host Policies Driving Innovation in San Francisco to provide data, insights and resources. We also rolled out the new NVCA Sample H.R. Policies – a free resource to help venture firms build inclusive H.R. practices. (more…)

Timely Reauthorization of PDUFA & MDUFA Is Critical to VC-backed Life Science Breakthroughs

by & filed under Medical Innovation, NVCA Blog.

Charlotte Savercool

Thirty years ago, the median time for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a new drug was 33 months. As one can imagine, major backlog at the agency caused significant delay to the approval and entry of potentially life-saving drugs in the market. To address this problem, Congress passed the Prescription Drug User Fee Act in 1992 to authorize the FDA to collect fees when new drug applications were submitted. Those user fees, paid for by the biopharmaceutical industry, supplemented Congressional funding for the agency to review new drug applications in a more timely and efficient manner. Ten years later, Congress passed the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act (MDUFA) after the FDA’s medical device program experienced a substantial loss in resources, seeking to accomplish a shared goal (between industry and the FDA) of improving the review process for new medical devices. (more…)

Autonomous Vehicles: An Investment in Safety

by & filed under Corporate Venture, NVCA Blog.

Kevin Kelly

This article originally appeared in the Corporate Venture Connection.

The rapid pace of development in autonomous vehicle technology is capturing headlines every day. The speed at which the technology is advancing surprises even the most ardent of technology watchers. But two questions that seem to be lost in all the tech frenzy is why this technology is important and what lies ahead in terms of business opportunities beyond the vehicle and technology itself.

In 2015, more than 30,000 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even more staggering, more than 90 percent of those lost lives were the result of driver error. The causes are as common as the sun rising: driver distraction and inattentiveness. Losing this many lives in a completely preventable fashion shouldn’t be something we accept in today’s society with the technology that exists today. (more…)

Building a Platform for Drones to Take-Off

by & filed under Corporate Venture, NVCA Blog.

David Famolari

This article originally appeared in the Corporate Venture Connection.

Forty years ago, a small group of researchers at Stanford Research Institute laid down the foundational principles that underpin what is now the Internet. In agreeing to build a modular, robust, and highly extensible end-to-end network, this team could not have appreciated the enormous economic engine they were about to unleash.

We now stand at a similar juncture with the explosion of unmanned aerial vehicles. The FAA has codified the earliest rules that will help define how we capitalize on this emerging industry and we have begun to see how drones can spark new economic opportunities across a wide range of industries. If we can adopt similar design principles to build a platform upon which services can be built to safely operate drones, and in a thoughtful and collaborative manner, the ‘Aerial Internet’ can be developed to be every bit as transformative as the digital Internet. (more…)