With 2017 in the rearview, we can now take a deep breath and try to make sense of what was a very turbulent year. President Trump’s first year in office turned out to be even more unconventional than his campaign for president. Protests the day after his inauguration, making news with the stroke of a tweet, and major legislative failures followed by major legislative victories, President Trump’s (almost) first year in office has been filled with fireworks on a weekly—and often daily—basis. As someone who has lived and worked in Washington for nearly three decades, this has been both exciting and exhausting to witness. Read more
At a time when the world’s problems seem more intractable – in light of the California wildfires and Las Vegas shooting – there is hope that social capital will be leveraged to address the climate change, poverty, access to healthcare and improving education. It certainly is a rising trend, as recent data shows that the impact investing market in the U.S. has a floor of $114 billion, although the actual market size is much larger.
While a critical mass of impact investors gathered in San Francisco for Social Capital Markets (SoCap), the world’s leading conference on impact investing and social enterprise, the NVCA seized the opportunity to bring participants in the venture ecosystem active in this space together to discuss its opportunities and challenges. Not surprisingly, the event attracted more than 70 attendees from a wide spectrum on the investing scale: both new and established, large and small venture capital firms, limited partners, entrepreneurs and foundations. Read more
At the start of the summer, I moved to San Francisco with NVCA to establish a full-time presence for our organization here. The journey West has brought me back to the place I called home for six years before my four-year stint in DC, but more importantly it’s been the start of a new chapter and exciting time for NVCA to engage more closely with the venture ecosystem in the mecca of the industry.
Just one month in and I’ve already had the chance to meet with a range of VCs and startups. Some highlights from June:
SoftTechVC’s Summer Party was a warm welcome my first week in San Francisco, where I met founders at many SoftTech portfolio companies. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
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