Today NVCA Chair Kate Mitchell joined leaders from the venture capital and start-up ecosystems at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Access to Capital Conference: Fostering Growth and Innovation for Small Companies. The purpose of the conference, which was attended by Secretary Geithner and other leaders in the administration, was to explore ways in which government can improve access to capital for small emerging growth companies. In his official statement Secretary Geithner remarked:
We’re here because the ability of entrepreneurs to access financing is essential to building a more competitive economy. Today, we want to explore how we can help make that happen. What are the barriers to accessing capital? Where can the government do more or help eliminate barriers and where should we stay out of the way? What can the private sector and the public sector both do to help small companies get access to the capital that they need to grow?
Kate sat on a panel that was moderated by StartUp America CEO Scott Case and included Chuck Newhall, Co-Founder of NEA, Paul Deninger, Partner at Evercore, Seth Goldman, Founder of Honest Tea, and Bob McCooey, Senior VP of NASDAQ. The group discussed the unintended consequences of recent regulations and the friction that those regulations have caused within the IPO market, specifically for small cap companies. They also offered suggestions to reduce this friction and to encourage longer holding periods of small cap IPOs. Among other suggestions Kate proposed the formation of a task force which would present formal recommendations to Treasury to address the current challenges, a concept that was well received by the panel and audience.
Kate’s panel, as well as the preceding panel, presented a strong platform for issues and solutions that the NVCA has been discussing for some time: Venture-backed companies are the job creators and innovators of the U.S. economy and we must do all that we can to support their formation and their growth, particularly as it relates to bringing them to the public markets. We hope this is the beginning of renewed energy focused on these issues, and look forward to working with the Administration to address them head on.
A copy of the slides which details the data points and concepts which Kate referred to her in her remarks can be found here. For a playback of the panels, we recommend checking the Treasury webcast site once the conference concludes at the end of the day.
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