There is immense opportunity in America today to build new technologies, services and products that shape the world. One of our key priorities at NVCA is ensuring America remains a country where the new ideas can flourish and long-term investment in innovation is rewarded. But, an environment that supports entrepreneurship and investment in new ideas cannot be taken for granted.
An economy where innovation can thrive must be carefully cultivated. Everyone in the innovation economy—venture capital investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, students, policymakers, corporations, incubators, service providers and others—has a role to play in advocating for the policies and regulations that provide pathways for innovators to bring new technologies and services to market. Right now, innovators are at a crossroads. If our government can’t bring simplicity and transparency to the regulatory system, America risks losing the entrepreneurs and those who invest in new ideas to Europe, Australia and Asia.
Amid a busy week in Washington, where we saw one of the biggest electoral upsets in the history of House leadership, the newly elected incoming class of the NVCA board of directors spent two days on Capitol Hill to advance polices that will spur U.S.-driven innovation and reward long-term investment.
We met with key legislators and staff in the House and Senate to build relationships and discuss the policies that matter most to entrepreneurs and the venture capital community. Some of the topics included immigration, tax reform, patent reform, energy tax credits, medical innovation, net neutrality and cybersecurity.
In addition, Mike Carusi, General Partner at Advanced Technology Ventures, and Alexis Borisy, Partner at Third Rock Ventures and NVCA Board Member, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. Their testimonies highlighted the critical role of venture capital in bringing revolutionary medical innovations to market. (Read the NVCA press release on the hearing and visit the House Energy and Commerce Committee to read their testimonies.)
In response to questions from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan, Mike Carusi made clear that the current U.S. regulatory environment is driving capital and innovation away. Particularly in the medical innovation space, the delays and lack of transparency in the regulatory process are making growth impossible for businesses and are sending venture capital investment overseas. Unless government agencies streamline the regulatory process to provide certainty and transparency, these trends will continue.
During discussions with senior staff of the Senate Finance Committee, staff on both sides of the aisle emphasized their focus on the future of the US economy as policymakers work with broad coalitions to find solutions on tax reform, immigration reform and patent reform. They posed the following question as a guidepost for tax reform, “What will be the next generation of businesses that are going to invest here and why will they choose to do so?
The future of economic growth depends on building an environment that encourages the capital formation and the emergence of new businesses. The difficult issues we consider together must be resolved with an eye toward the future. At the NVCA, we know that part of achieving compromise means working through controversial and difficult issues.
Participation is a key element of achieving success. We will ensure that the venture capital community continues to have a seat at the table in the discussions about the policies that shape the economy. As we always have, the NVCA and our board will work with lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill, regulators at federal agencies and the Obama Administration to help craft policies that will drive growth, reward hard work, and create an environment where revolutionary technologies that change lives continue to be founded in America.