NVCA Unveils Resources to Help Address Sexual Harassment in Venture Ecosystem

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today released a set of model documents and resources to help address sexual harassment in the venture industry. Created with guidance from working groups consisting of legal, H.R., and employment experts as well as venture investors, the documents have been created for both venture firms and startups to reference and adopt.  These industry resources include: 1) Sample H.R. Policies for Addressing Harassment & Discrimination; 2) Sample H.R. Best Practices for Addressing Harassment & Discrimination; and 3) Sample Code of Conduct Policy.  They are available with the NVCA Model Legal Documents as well as on the VentureForward page of the NVCA website.

The H.R. resources come in response to the news reports last summer of incidents of sexual harassment involving venture investors.  In the wake of these revelations, NVCA sprang to action, speaking with many of the victims, collecting recommendations via an online form, and organizing a workshop in San Francisco that convened more than 60 industry participants, including managing partners, H.R. professionals, entrepreneurs, limited partners, legal experts, and other stakeholders. (more…)

NVCA, Investors, Business Leaders and Others Call on President Trump to Maintain International Entrepreneur Rule

Coalition Letter to President Trump Outlines Why IER Should Not Be Rescinded

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today led a group of 31 business leaders, investors, and organizations committed to American entrepreneurship in calling on President Trump to not rescind the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER).  The “Rescission of the International Entrepreneur Rule” proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been pending review with the Office of Management and Budget since November, placing IER on uncertain footing and threatens the benefits to the U.S. economy that come from the IER.

Talented immigrant entrepreneurs are already applying through the IER program and making plans to grow the next generation of iconic American companies as a result of a December 1, 2017 court order from Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia.  Judge Boasberg granted summary judgment for NVCA, entrepreneurs, and startups after they challenged the DHS’s delay of IER.  The ruling compelled DHS to end its delay and begin accepting applications of foreign entrepreneurs who wish to grow new companies in the U.S.  Despite the court ruling and broad support from venture investors, startups and the business community, DHS continues to push for repeal of a common sense, pro-jobs policy that is in alignment with the president’s economic agenda.

“The International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) allows world-class immigrant entrepreneurs to build new companies in the United States if the startup has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation,” wrote NVCA and other signatories in a letter to President Trump.  (more…)

NVCA Unveils Updated Model Legal Documents

Changes to Address Crypto-Currency and Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Among Changes

WASHINGTON, DC – As a continuation of the National Venture Capital Association’s (NVCA) commitment to convening the entrepreneurial ecosystem and making available resources to support new company formation, NVCA today unveiled updates to its model legal documents.  The first changes to the documents since 2014, the updates are the product of a group of inside and outside counsel to venture capital firms.  The updates were shepherded by the newly created NVCA General Counsel Advisory Board, which was created to maintain and update the model legal documents and provide guidance to NVCA on policy matters impacting venture capital and VC-backed companies.  The NVCA General Counsel Advisory Board is comprised of general counsels from NVCA member firms, outside counsels to member firms, and the academic community.

Through the support of the Advisory Board, as well as other attorneys, the model legal documents are made available as a free public resource.  By providing an industry-embraced set of model legal documents that can be used as a starting point, the model legal documents aim to provide a comprehensive set of internally consistent financing documents, promote consistency among transactions, and reduce transaction cost and time. (more…)

Stephanie Volk Named Vice President of Development for NVCA

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today announced the appointment of Stephanie Volk as Vice President of Development effective immediately.  Volk comes to NVCA from GE Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of GE, where she served as Manager, Commercial Development.  With Volk’s appointment, NVCA expands its West Coast presence as Volk joins Maryam Haque, Vice President of Research and Strategic Engagement, in NVCA’s San Francisco/Palo Alto offices, which were established in June 2017.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Stephanie to the NVCA team.  Her background developing partnerships within the venture community and building resources for startups coupled with significant business, marketing and economic development experience will be a huge asset to NVCA,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. (more…)

NVCA Chair Testifies Before Senate Panel on CFIUS Reform Legislation

Recommend Improvements to FIRRMA to Avoid Unintended Consequences on Startup Investment

WASHINGTON, DC – At a congressional hearing today, NVCA Board Chair Scott Kupor, Managing Partner of Andreessen Horowitz, testified on the need to protect U.S. innovation, security and competitiveness, but cautioned lawmakers not to overlook the unintended consequences of proposed legislation to reform the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  Testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs at a hearing entitled “CFIUS Reform: Examining the Essential Elements,” Kupor shared with lawmakers the fundamentals of venture capital investing as well its importance to the U.S. economy before outlining concerns with S. 2098 the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernizations Act of 2017 (FIRRMA) and the unintended consequences it would have on venture capital and investment into innovative startups.

FIRRMA is well meaning legislation intended to deal with a real challenge. However, as drafted FIRRMA produces many questions about the filing obligations of U.S. venture capitalists when a fund has any amount of foreign LPs,” remarked Kupor in his prepared testimony.  (more…)

Record Unicorn Financings Drove 2017 Total Venture Capital Investments to $84 Billion, the Largest Amount Since Dot-Com Era

2017 Was a Banner Year for Venture Capital, Marked by Record Fundraising and Unicorn Investment Activity and Exits, According to the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor

SEATTLE, WA The U.S. venture capital (VC) industry finished strong in 2017 with $84 billion invested in 8,035 companies across 8,076 deals, the highest annual amount of capital deployed to the entrepreneurial ecosystem since the early 2000’s, according to the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. Over the past several years, the VC industry has evolved as VC-backed companies stay private longer and command larger deal sizes. With fewer transactions yet more capital deployed into higher valued companies, deal counts dropped to the lowest figure since 2012, while median and average deal sizes reached a decade-high in 2017. Helping to drive this trend, Unicorns (i.e., VC-backed companies valued at $1 billion or more) alone raised $19.2 billion in capital, more than they have in any other year on record. This group also received a dramatically outsized portion of capital at 22.8% of total dollars, yet made up just 0.9% of deal volume. Boosted by 13 unicorn exits in 2017, overall VC exit value remained flat, despite a three-year decline in exit counts. Meanwhile, fundraising continued at a high clip as limited partners (LP) committed more than $32 billion to the asset class in 2017, bringing the trailing four-year total to $142 billion. (more…)

Tax Reform Package Preserves Key Priorities, More Work Remains to Reform Tax Code to Better Support Startups

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) issued the following statement today after the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the Republican tax reform package.  The bill now heads to the desk of President Trump for his expected signature to sign the legislation into law.

“We are pleased to see a number of our priorities reflected in the final bill, and appreciate the efforts of policymakers to understand how certain tax changes, such as taxing stock options at vesting, carried interest capital gains, the Qualified Small Business Stock rules and taxing graduate student tuition waivers, would have negatively impacted the entrepreneurial business model,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA.  (more…)

NVCA Cheers Implementation of International Entrepreneur Rule, But More Work Remains

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today cheered an announcement from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the agency would begin accepting applications under the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER).  The move comes in accordance with a recent court ruling in the case of National Venture Capital Association v. Duke challenging the delay of IER by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  On December 1, 2017, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the lawsuit brought by NVCA, entrepreneurs and startup companies challenging DHS’s delay of IER.  The court ruled in favor of the lawsuit on the grounds that because DHS did not solicit advance comment from the public on the delay, it violated clear requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.  At the same time USCIS is beginning to accept applications of foreign-born entrepreneurs, DHS is proceeding with a notice of proposed rulemaking to eliminate IER, rendering implementation of the application process only temporary.

“At long last, the International Entrepreneur Rule is now taking effect, providing a pathway for foreign-born entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. to build their companies and make strong contributions to the U.S. economy.  Foreign-born entrepreneurs are critical to maintaining a strong and growing U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystem and we were proud to step up and represent their interests in fighting for implementation of IER,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. (more…)

Startups Need Strong Net Neutrality Protections

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) issued the following statement today after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality rules.

“We are disappointed by today’s action by the FCC, which leaves high-growth startups without net neutrality protections in the marketplace,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. (more…)

Senate Passes Tax Reform Legislation Preserving Several NVCA Priorities

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) issued the following statement today after the Senate passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“We have always viewed tax reform as an important opportunity to realign the tax code to better support entrepreneurship and spur new company formation.  While we would have preferred to see a section in tax reform dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, it does preserve several provisions that are critical to the startup ecosystem,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA.  (more…)