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.
Although this was a change from how the meeting has been done in recent years, we were really taking a lesson from the past, replicating what was done in the early days of the association.
In the early years of NVCA in the 1970’s, the NVCA Annual Meeting was held in D.C. It was an opportunity for the young venture capital industry to come to Washington, learn about policy, and make an impact on policies important to supporting entrepreneurship and spurring high-growth startups. In fact, it was during those early years that NVCA helped change several government policies that gave rise to the modern venture capital industry and demonstrated to the early pioneers of our industry how impactful direct advocacy can be on an industry.
While the venture capital industry has matured immensely since those early days of NVCA, the rationale behind those early Annual Meetings still holds true. Therefore, we went back to our roots this year and brought the venture capital industry and the D.C. community together for two days of policy education and advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill.
On the first day, the VC community and D.C. policymakers and influencers gathered at the Newseum for a day of policy education, discussions, and presentations.
The day was filled with engaging content, including: keynote speakers Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI); policy panels on immigration reform, capital markets, tax reform and more featuring prominent VCs, policymakers and government officials; a data presentation from PitchBook; and the official passing of the gavel from outgoing NVCA Chair Venky Ganesan of Menlo Ventures to our new Chair Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz.
On the second day of our Annual Meeting, members of the venture community organized for advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill with lawmakers and staff to advance our pro-innovation agenda. The day started with a briefing and prep meeting in the House Ways & Means Committee hearing room before assembling into pods for our meetings. Among others, our groups met with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senate Banking Committee staff and House Ways and Means Committee staff to discuss tax reform to spur new company formation, capital markets reform to jumpstart the pipeline of VC-backed IPOs, and immigration reform to ensure foreign-born founders can come to the U.S. to build and grow their companies.
Our day of advocacy on behalf of the VC industry was a fitting end to the two-day event. Overall, moving the NVCA Annual Meeting back to Washington was the right call. It both returns NVCA to its roots and also strengthens us as an industry in Washington by bringing VCs to D.C. Planning is already underway for next year, so mark your calendars for 2018.