Devin Miller

by & filed under Events, NVCA Blog, Public Policy.

At a time when the startup ecosystem is intersecting more and more with policies coming out of Washington, it seems like an ideal time to bring venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and policymakers together to discuss the future of policy impacting America’s innovation industry.

Last week, NVCA did just that at VCs-to-DC. Our event brought together the entrepreneurial ecosystem and policy decision makers in Washington, D.C. to take part in conversations on policy issues to strengthen the U.S. startup ecosystem.

VCs-to-DC, formerly known as the NVCA Annual Meeting, began on Wednesday at the Newseum. The day started with our President and CEO Bobby Franklin convening the event and introducing the new slate of NVCA Board members and the new Board Executive Council. Bookending his annual term as NVCA Chairman, Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz then passed the Chairman’s gavel to Alexis Borisy of Third Rock Ventures, officially beginning Borisy’s tenure as Chair of the NVCA Board for the 2018-2019 term.

NVCA President & CEO Bobby Franklin Kicks-off VCs-to-DC.

Scott Kupor passes the gavel to Alexis Borisy, NVCA’s new Chair.

Then we dived into the day’s main programming, which featured keynotes from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and fireside chats with Revolution Chairman and CEO Steve Case, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks on his innovation agenda and how government policy and regulations can support startup formation in the U.S.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) talks innovation, jobs, cybersecurity, workforce changes and more during his keynote address.

Steve Case discusses promoting startup investment into emerging ecosystems, the latest Rise Of Rest tour and what we need to do to expand VC & innovation (and the jobs they create) across the U.S.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb discusses healthcare innovation during his fireside chat.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton discusses capital markets, making it easier for startups to go public, the decline in the number of public companies in the U.S., and crypto and ICO regulations.

In addition, there were a number of informative panels about the important issues facing our industry today, covering topics such as: the present and future of the U.S. cryptocurrency industry; how VCs and entrepreneurs are navigating changing immigration policy; how tax reform impacts VC and entrepreneurship and what’s next; and the Trump Administration approach to tech policy.

The immigration panel discusses how VCs, startups and entrepreneurs are navigating the challenges of current U.S. immigration policy with Jeff Clavier of Uncork Capital, Carmen Palafox of Make in LA, Ximena Hartsock of Phone2Action and Jeff Farrah of NVCA.

Jan Garfinkle of Arboretum, Steve Franklin of Gunderson Dettmer, James Markham of EY, Jon Talisman of Capitol Tax Partners and Justin Field of NVCA discuss how tax reform impacts VC and entrepreneurship and what’s next.

On Thursday, the morning began in the Russell Senate building with a presentation from David Castagnett & Bruce Mehlman on the current state of politics in Washington and coming political trends in the U.S. and around the world. Next, the NVCA policy team provided an overview of NVCAs positions on key policy issues and gave a crash course on what it takes to be a successful lobbyist. Then we hit the halls of Congress to meet with and educate policymakers and staff about the tremendous benefits VCs are bringing to the economy and how they can make a difference for the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our groups met with Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), a number of Representatives on the House Financial Services Committee, and staff of several other Senators and Representatives. We discussed policy issues such as the FIRRMA legislation, capital markets legislation, Volcker Rule reform, and changes to the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) rules.

The NVCA policy team goes over our major policy issues and talking points with VCs as preparation for their advocacy meetings with Senators and Congressmen.

NVCA members meet with Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI), discussing some of our policy priorities and how he can help support the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Our day of advocacy on behalf of the entrepreneurial ecosystem was a strong end to the two-day event. This is the second year in a row that NVCA has held VCs-to-DC/our Annual Meeting in D.C., and we believe that we have found a good formula for convening the ecosystem, connecting our industry with policymakers and strengthening our policy priorities. We have already begun planning for next year’s event—stay tuned for scheduling and program details!