As the entrepreneurial ecosystem and D.C. continue to intersect more and more, it’s crucial that VCs and startups engage with policymakers on policies and ideas that impact America’s startup industry.
Recently, NVCA brought the ecosystem and D.C. together at our annual VCs-to-DC event. VCs-to-DC convened VCs, founders, and policymakers in our nation’s capital to take part in conversations on policy issues to strengthen the U.S. startup environment.
The event began on Wednesday, June 5, with NVCA President and CEO Bobby Franklin welcoming the attendees to the Newseum and introducing our first session of the day, a presentation from veteran Washington operatives Bruce Mehlman and David Castagnetti on how divided government is impacting the venture and startup ecosystem and what’s around the corner.
Then we dived into the rest of the day’s programming, which featured fireside chats with Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and a keynote from Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC). Each of these important lawmakers shared their thoughts on how D.C. is impacting startups and VC and the importance of engaging with Washington.
In addition, there were a number of informative panels and presentations about the important issues facing our industry today, covering topics such as: foreign investment scrutiny (CFIUS); the impact of populism and techlash on startups and VC; tax policy and the startup ecosystem; government lab-to-market initiatives; and a new report on immigrant entrepreneurship.
Wednesday ended with outgoing NVCA Board Chairman Alexis Borisy of Third Rock Ventures passing the gavel to Jan Garfinkle of Arboretum Ventures, officially beginning Garfinkle’s tenure as Chair of the NVCA Board for the 2019-2020 term.
On Thursday, the morning began in the Russell Senate building with a presentation from the NVCA policy team, providing an overview of NVCA’s positions on key issues and giving a crash course on what it takes to successfully advocate for venture.
Then we hit the halls of Congress and administrative agencies to meet with and educate policymakers and their staff about the tremendous benefits VCs are bringing to the economy and how they can make a difference for the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our groups met with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Todd Young (R-IN), staff of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), and regulators at the Treasury Department, Commerce Department, and the SEC. We discussed policy issues such as a Startup Visa for immigrant entrepreneurs, tax policy that supports startups, RIA reform, and blockchain regulation.
Our day of advocacy on behalf of the entrepreneurial ecosystem was a strong end to VCs-to-DC, and the many VCs that joined us made a great impression on policymakers both in Congress and in the regulatory agencies.
The third annual VCs-to-DC was a great success that convened the ecosystem, connected our industry with policymakers, and strengthened our policy priorities. We have already begun planning for next year’s event—stay tuned for scheduling and program details!
Jeff Farrah serves as General Counsel at NVCA, where he advocates before Congress, the White House, and agencies for pro-entrepreneurship policies and leads in-house legal matters for the association. He loves working at the intersection of venture, public policy, and the law. Jeff concurrently serves as Treasurer of VenturePAC, the political action committee of NVCA.