As I begin my term serving as the 2014-2015 Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), I wanted to use this first blog post as an opportunity to provide the venture community with my outlook on the coming year and discuss NVCA’s role as a resource, champion and unifying force for our dynamic industry. Along with our newly elected board and the NVCA staff, I am looking forward to serving our members in the coming year, as well as the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem our industry supports.
In recent years, NVCA has led the charge to implement policies that encourage the emergence and growth of next-generation companies. We have also successfully defended against a slew of regulatory measures that we believed would prove detrimental to innovation; policies that would hinder our ability to fund groundbreaking advances in science and technology, or make it harder for us to help build great companies—companies that fuel economic growth, create jobs, and change our lives and our world for the better.
Despite a commendable track record and numerous recent successes, I think we all know that significant challenges still lie ahead. By embracing more stakeholders that drive the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem, I believe our voice will grow even stronger with policymakers in Washington, DC. We will work aggressively to build consensus and create an environment conducive to the kind of economic growth and progress that only a thriving innovation ecosystem can deliver.
While our industry may be relatively small, it is increasingly diverse and its impact is incredibly far-reaching. As the flow of funding to what you might call ‘mainstream’ venture capital has slowed and concentrated over the last decade, corporate venture capital and later-stage entrants have become a vital part of the innovation ecosystem for more mature companies. Angel investors and angel funds, too, have become important sources of seed capital for thousands of entrepreneurs every year.
Of course, our constituency also extends well beyond the suppliers of capital. The challenges and opportunities that matter to venture capital, matter to entrepreneurs. These issues matter to many thousands of small startup companies—companies that are the Googles, the Microsofts, and the Amazons of tomorrow, but that today have virtually no voice in Washington, DC.
I believe we have a responsibility to ensure that the broader startup ecosystem has a voice. We all know that we win when they win—and it’s only natural that the entrepreneurial community plays a role in venture capital’s efforts to influence and help define the policies that will shape the future of our industry and our country.
We all have a stake in this, and we can all participate. The NVCA’s core strength lies in the countless contributions of its members—the many venture capitalists who are deeply committed to advancing the NVCA’s mission, and who devote countless hours to ensuring that our voice is heard, and that it grows stronger. I encourage everyone in the venture community to think about how you can help make our entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem better, and if the NVCA can help, please let us be your partner.
I feel deeply privileged to work alongside all of you, this year and in the years that follow, to support the industry we are today and shape the industry we will become. If I can ever be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask. It’s an honor to serve as your chairman and I look forward to the year ahead.