FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2021
Contact: Devin Miller
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today presented individuals, firms, and organizations across the venture capital community with its annual industry awards, including Firm of the Year, Rising Star, and Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital. NVCA also added three new award categories this year: DE&I Impact, Startup Innovator, and Startup Champion.
“On behalf of NVCA and our board of directors, I want to congratulate the 2021 award winners for their contributions to advancing the venture capital ecosystem and entrepreneurship in the U.S.,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “For many decades, venture capital has partnered with entrepreneurs to build iconic companies that have revolutionized our way of life, expanded the U.S. economy, and improved our society. Today, we celebrate the venture industry and honor those who played a major role in its success. Congratulations again to all of the award winners.”
2021 Award Recipients:
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN)
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
“Representative Dean Phillips has quickly become a powerful champion for America’s startups,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “During the debate with the administration on affiliation rules for the Paycheck Protection Program, Congressman Phillips led a bipartisan letter of 54 Members of Congress calling on the administration to fix the affiliation rules. And then, as focus turned to what’s next, Congressman Phillips designed a program that fits the growth company model, writing the IGNITE American Innovation Act, a bill that would accelerate job creation and innovation by allowing startups and growth companies to monetize up to $25 million in tax assets.”
“Every so often, a member of Congress steps forward who truly appreciates why startups are so important, and Representative Patrick McHenry is one of those members,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “Congressman McHenry has worked with NVCA on issues like: CFIUS reform to ensure passive investment in venture funds is not caught up in a time consuming and costly regulatory process; the Paycheck Protection Program, to make sure regulators were hearing about how VC-backed companies were structured so they were not disadvantaged; beneficial ownership legislation, where he was a key player in pushing back on onerous requirements for startups; and his constant drum beat of support for capital formation.”
“We’re proud to give our inaugural DE&I Impact award to BLCK VC for their incredible work to empower and support Black investors and increase diversity in the venture capital industry,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “Formed in 2018 to empower and support Black investors while increasing diversity in venture capital, BLCK VC has been a leading voice on racial diversity in the VC industry. We look forward to BLCK VC’s continued efforts to advance a more diverse venture ecosystem.”
“When COVID-19 hit the country, Michigan-based NeuMoDx jumped into action, quickly receiving emergency authorization from the FDA for its COVID-19 test and rapidly putting their tests into the field,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “Since March, NeuMoDx has sold over 3.5 million COVID tests worldwide, with 99.5% accuracy in real-world data. They have also developed a saliva-based test for COVID that is approved worldwide. Finally, they have developed a test to help distinguish between COVID and flu-like illnesses. It has approval abroad and is in the final stages of approval with the FDA. NeuMoDx is an amazing example of what a nimble, passionate VC-backed company can do in the face of a global health crisis.”
Aziz Gilani (Mercury Fund)
“When COVID-19 first hit, Congress began putting together the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, to help small businesses survive the economic effects of the pandemic. But in its original drafted form, most startups would not have been eligible for PPP,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “Aziz Gilani was instrumental in helping NVCA find problems with how PPP was originally written and finding solutions so that the program would work for startups. The fact that hundreds of startups were able to access PPP to keep employees, and in some cases stay in business, would not have been possible without Aziz’s hard work and dedication on behalf of the industry.”
Kate Mitchell (Scale Venture Partners)
“I can’t think of anyone in the venture industry who has done more to represent and support the interests of the entrepreneurial ecosystem than Kate Mitchell,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “Kate has made an incredibly positive impact on the industry through her heavy involvement in the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, as a charter member of Environmental Entrepreneurs, and as a mentor for Kauffman Fellows. In addition, Kate is one of the largest donors to Venture Forward, NVCA’s supporting non-profit that is driving the human capital, culture, values, and narrative of the venture capital industry.”
Brentt Baltimore (Greycroft)
Dan Gebremedhin, MD (Flare Capital Partners)
Kathryn Weinmann (Norwest Venture Partners)
“The Rising Star Award is one of our most competitive award categories, and the three award winners continually rose to the top during the selection process,” said Bobby Franklin. “Brentt Baltimore, Dan Gebremedhin, and Kathryn Weinmann are already respected investors in our industry and widely recognized as rising stars with bright futures in the venture community. We are incredibly proud to recognize Brentt, Dan, and Kathryn with this award, and we look forward to seeing where their careers take them next.”
Excellence in Healthcare Innovation
Jim Healy (Sofinnova Investments)
“Dr. Healy has been financing companies that are developing important therapies that are transformative for patients at Sofinnova for over 20 years,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “He has funded companies where eleven products were approved by the FDA or EMA. Twenty-two of his investments have gone public and eleven have been acquired as private or public companies. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Ascendis, Bolt, CinCor, Coherus, Karuna, Natera, Nucana, Obseva, Y-Mabs, and an investor in Visen. Jim’s contributions to healthcare innovation are tremendous and inspiring, and we are honored to recognize him for his many achievements.”
Venture Firm of the Year
“We are thrilled to recognize Sequoia as the 2021 Venture Firm of the Year,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “For almost fifty years, Sequoia has backed and supported transformative companies all over the world. The Sequoia team has been a leader in our industry through their investments, their support for entrepreneurs, and their commitment to taking bold risks that have resulted in incredible returns. We congratulate Sequoia and its team on this achievement and wish them the best of luck as they continue to support innovative companies across the country and the world that promise a brighter future.”
Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital
“The successes and contributions of Dixon Doll are a major chapter in the history of the venture capital industry,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “Over the course of his career, Dixon has co-founded several venture capital firms and made dozens of highly successful investments into companies that made him a fixture on the Forbes Midas list for years. Dixon was also an influential Chairman of NVCA and worked on many important initiatives on behalf of the industry. Dixon is a true luminary of our industry, and we are honored to present him with the Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital Award.”
About the Awards:
The Startup Champion Award recognizes elected officials for their significant contributions to advancing policy that supports the entrepreneurial ecosystem and creates a more positive environment for new company formation in America.
The DE&I Impact Award recognizes individuals, organizations, or firms who have made a significant impact towards advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DE&I) venture ecosystem. Award recipients have demonstrated not only a strong commitment to DE&I, but also have created and executed programs or initiatives that have meaningfully increased opportunities for historically underrepresented groups to participate and thrive in our industry.
The Startup Innovator Award recognizes a VC-or growth equity-backed portfolio company for its significant contributions to society and the world. Companies receiving this award have made a positive and measurable impact on addressing an area of need, an ongoing crisis, or a significant challenge that exists in our world. The company’s dedication to affecting positive change has made it a leader within the entrepreneurial ecosystem around the problem it seeks to address.
The Outstanding Service Award recognizes the exceptional service of an NVCA Director or NVCA member who has committed an extraordinary amount of time, resources, and dedication to Association efforts that in turn benefits the entire venture industry. The dedication has raised the visibility of the industry to key legislators and regulators and helped to educate them regarding the pivotal role of venture capital to this economy.
The American Spirit Award recognizes NVCA members who have shown philanthropic leadership by applying business skills, knowledge, expertise, and resources to make an outstanding contribution to society.
The Rising Star Award recognizes the next generation of venture capital professionals who are rising through the ranks and establishing themselves as future standard bearers of the industry. Recipients of the award have demonstrated a mastery of venture capital investing gleaned through a relatively short amount of time in the industry and are widely recognized by their peers and others as emerging leaders of the venture capital industry.
Excellence in Healthcare Innovation
For over three decades, venture capital has been at the forefront of some of the greatest advancements in medicine, pushing the boundaries of medical innovation and spurring the creation of the biotechnology and medical device industries. The Excellence in Healthcare Innovation Award recognizes those who have demonstrated a clear commitment to the advancement of healthcare innovation through their investment in and support of groundbreaking medical companies that are working on treatments and cures for the most deadly and costly diseases.
Venture Firm of the Year
The Venture Firm of the Year Award recognizes venture capital firms for their significant contributions to advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem and generate returns for their investors. Firms receiving the award are recognized for strong fund performance and high exit multiples for recent exits as well as activities to promote entrepreneurship and create a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem.
Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital
The Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital Award recognizes venture professionals who have dedicated their professional lives to creating and building successful and highly competitive venture firms as well as portfolio companies that have made a significant contribution to the growth and success of the U.S. economy. Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award were instrumental in the formation and growth of the venture capital industry and have consistently set high performance standards for the entire industry.
You can see previous award winners here.
About the National Venture Capital Association
The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) empowers the next generation of American companies that will fuel the economy of tomorrow. As the voice of the U.S. venture capital and startup community, NVCA advocates for public policy that supports the American entrepreneurial ecosystem. Serving the venture community as the preeminent trade association, NVCA arms the venture community for success, serving as the leading resource for venture capital data, practical education, peer-led initiatives and networking. For more information about NVCA, please visit www.nvca.org.