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13

Jun

2013

NVCA Urges Members to Start Their "Engines" PDF Print E-mail

Emily Mendell

Written by Emily Mendell   
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As the Senate begins to debate comprehensive immigration reform, there will be a number of events across the country which aim to communicate to legislators broad support for comprehensive immigration reform. The NVCA is working the halls of Congress and we are encouraging our members and the startup community to join those events that make the most sense for them.  One such effort will happen next Tuesday, June 18.

Engine Advocacy, an organization comprised of members of the startup ecosystem, is organizing the first day of action for their Keep Us Here campaign. Keep Us Here provides a platform for anyone who wants to advocate for immigration reform to get in touch with their Senators via Twitter, email and an online call tool. Next Tuesday, Engine is hoping that the diverse supporters of reform will use the tech tools to contact Congress directly.

We are encouraging all NVCA members and their portfolio companies to engage in this campaign by making phone calls, sending letters, and using social media to get the word out.

Want to join the campaign?

Everything needed to participate is here at the Keep Us Here website. You can also join the event on Facebook. Those in San Francisco can join in person - here is the evite to that event.

We hope many in our ecosystem will take the time to get involved.  It’s easy – and its important. Thanks for lending your collective voice!

 

13

Jun

2013

VentureScape 2013 Presents Inside Out with Dick Costolo PDF Print E-mail

Emily Mendell

Written by Emily Mendell   
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On May 15, 2013, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo sat down with Foundry Group Managing Director Jason Mendelson at NVCA’s VentureScape.  The 30+ minute conversation flowed easily between these two Michiganders, offering unique insights into Costolo's journey and philosophies about his business.  The content was not only compelling but entertaining – so much so that we wanted to share it here at NVCAccess.

It was one of many presentations that day that defined VentureScape as the go-to VC event of the year.  You can expect more of the same next year when we return the Westin San Francisco on May 13-14, 2014 for another fantastic meeting.

In the meantime, enjoy this video – and thanks to folks @Twitter for their support in posting it.

Watch here!

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Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2013 13:32
 

11

Jun

2013

NVCA's Role in Immigration Reform PDF Print E-mail

Jennifer Dowling

Written by Jennifer Connell Dowling   
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In the last several weeks the buzz around high-skilled immigration reform has noticeably increased with many groups across the country contributing to the campaign to enact meaningful change in this area.  We, at the National Venture Capital Association, are extremely encouraged by the public support and momentum around an issue that we have long supported.  Each and every group has a role to play as the debate moves forward.  For the NVCA’s part, we do our best work in Washington D.C., often out of the public spotlight, helping to frame and advocate for those provisions most important to the venture capital industry and the companies in which we invest.  These efforts, combined with more public campaigns from other coalitions who share our goals, will continue in earnest as immigration reform moves through the Senate, and eventually, hopefully through the House of Representatives.

We are proud that long-standing parts of our policy platform, such as improvements to the H-1B visa system were included in the comprehensive Senate package.  Similarly, we are proud of the creation of the INVEST Visa category as a result of the work we have done.

  • For nearly a decade, NVCA has been educating lawmakers about the contribution of foreign born nationals to entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation. Our 2006 American Made report was the first of its kind documenting this phenomenon and, thanks to your efforts connecting us with your companies, we will be in a position to issue an update to this critical report in the coming weeks.  The timing will coincide with Senate action on the bill.
  • Given our constituency, the NVCA is often asked to testify on issues critical to the startup community and immigration is no exception.  The testimony of members like Jason Mendelson of Foundry Group and Shervin Pishevar of Menlo Ventures who addressed the last Congress paved the way for more recent hearings where Deepak Kamra of Canaan Partners and Jeffrey Bussgang of Flybridge Capital Partners were instrumental in building the case for an “entrepreneurial” or start-up visa for foreign-born founders who come to the U.S. to start and build companies.
  • In the last few months, NVCA has met regularly with Democrat and Republican members of the Senate Gang of 8 and provided input on the Invest Visa provision.  We have also worked with Sens. Mark Udall, Mark Warner, and Jerry Moran, whose startup bills helped plow the ground for the Gang of 8 Invest Visa.  The devil is always in the details and our focus has been on ensuring that the rules will allow the right entrepreneurs to take advantage of this important category.  This involves educating legislators on the important role of incubators and qualified startup accelerators, typical funding levels for first time entrepreneurs, the process of syndication among more than one firm, and reasonable milestones to track progress.  We are confident our efforts resulted in a provision that will be meaningful and workable should the full bill pass.
  • Deepak Kamra’s testimony created interest on the start-up visa front among Republican leaders on the Judiciary committee which may lead to the inclusion of positive provisions in any House package.  While stalwarts like Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Jared Polis have been long-standing backers of this concept, garnering the attention of the majority party is critical to seeing this included in any product ultimately produced by that Chamber.

So where do we go from here?  Much work remains before we can declare victory.  The Senate will begin a series of procedural votes and maneuvers this week, that will measure support and which will hopefully begin the debate on the underlying legislation in earnest.  If the bill survives the procedural hurdles, there will be several weeks of debate on amendments before a full vote is taken.  During that time, NVCA will be engaged on this issue, meeting with legislators and pushing hard for a favorable outcome.

The path that the House of Representatives will take in tackling immigration reform is less clear.  At this point, both the Judiciary Committee and the broader Republican majority have signaled their intent to move multiple smaller measures rather than one comprehensive proposal.  Ultimately strategy in that Chamber is likely to be strongly influenced by the outcome in the Senate.  As that plays out, we will be consistently building the case for reform.  Of course, high-skilled immigration reform is but one of many provisions in this bill.

Significant challenges around other provisions are much more controversial, and passage of a comprehensive immigration bill is the end game.  This is not a sprint but a marathon to be sure.  A more detailed explanation of how the INVEST Visa works can be found here. Please expect to hear from NVCA regualrly on this issue int he coming weeks here at NVCAccess.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 10:23
 

10

Jun

2013

A Changing Landscape in Minnesota PDF Print E-mail

Mark Heesen

Written by Mark Heesen   
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For decades, NVCA has championed venture investing as a national phenomenon – not just a quixotic activity confined to the coasts. Vibrant VC ecosystems dot the country – from the Research Triangle to Austin to Boulder and beyond. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit one my favorite hubs: Minnesota.

There, I served as keynote speaker for the 18th annual Entrepreneur& Investor Luncheon. The event was hosted by long-time colleagues Ed Spencer, president of the Minnesota Venture Capital Association, and Dan Carr, president of The Collaborative, which for 25 years has served as a vital source of information, guidance and networking for growing companies in Minnesota. Working together, The Collaborative, the MVCA and other local organizations have built a robust culture of innovation and business development in the Land of 10,000 lakes.

On this day, I wished I had an abundance of good news for them, but the outlook was tempered. Driven by the presence of medical industry giants like Medtronic and the Mayo Clinic, the lion’s share of Minnesota’s VC activity has focused on the life sciences sector. And as we all know, investments in this sector have been waning for some time, thanks largely to the increasing time, cost and uncertainty involved in navigating the processes at the FDA and CMS.  Many VCs who expect to remain active in the sector have told us they will likely focus on later-stage deals. While we are hoping that tides will turn and progress has been made on the policy front in the last year, the consequences for innovation – in Minnesota and in our country – if this trend persists would be grave.

But, in researching my presentation, I did find a curious anomaly in the Minnesota investment numbers that could bode very well for the future. The bulk of first-time fundings in Minnesota have shifted to the software sector. While this nascent trend probably won’t immediately erase all of the challenges that the life sciences climate has created for veteran Minnesota VCs, it is a first step toward balance for the larger scene. This adaptability is a testament to the ecosystem that The Collaborative, the MVCA and Minnesota VCs have built, and I look forward to watching it evolve even further.

 

28

May

2013

NVCA Endorses IPEV Guidelines: Q &A PDF Print E-mail

John Taylor

Written by John Taylor   
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Today we announced that the NVCA Board of Directors unanimously endorsed  the International Private Equity and Venture Capital (IPEV) Valuation Guidelines.  These guidelines, developed by U.S. and international industry participants, were written for practitioner use in developing and implementing valuation reporting processes and were finalized by the IPEV board in December 2012.

"The IPEV Valuation Guidelines are the result of industry stakeholders across a number of countries coming together to develop appropriate valuation guidance for venture capital, growth capital, and private equity firms,” said Mark Heesen, president of NVCA. “These guidelines are consistent with U.S. GAAP which specifies that fair value be determined using market participant assumptions.  The collaborative process that took place reflects a strong understanding of the nascent companies in which our industry invests.”

Three members of  the NVCA CFO Task Force served on the IPEV Committee: William Hupp of Adams Street Partners (Vice Chair of IPEV), Mike Maher of US Venture Partners and Stephen Holmes of InterWest Partners. In addition, veteran industry valuation expert David Larsen of Duff & Phelps was heavily involved in the drafting.

By endorsing these guidelines, NVCA joins the US Private Equity and Growth Capital (PEGCC) Association, and many venture capital, private equity, and limited partner associations in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

NVCA members have asked a number of questions on these guidelines. Here are some answers:

Q: How can these be international guidelines if there are two different sets of accounting rules (US GAAP and non-US IFRS) and the US SEC hasn’t yet decided which system will ultimately prevail?

A:  Several years ago, US FASB (Financial Accounting Standard Board) and international IASB embarked on a program to converge a number of accounting rules. Among the rules converged were fair value measurement and investment company accounting. Happily, many of the topics that affect venture firm reporting were converged. These guidelines are based on the converged rules. For more detail, refer to Appendix H of the NVCA 2013 Yearbook. 

Q: Several years ago, many US venture and private equity firms were using PEIGG guidelines. Are those obsolete? How do those relate to IPEV valuation guidelines?

A:  The PEIGG guidelines were US-focused only and were created as the 2008 implementation of broadened fair value measurement effective date approached. Many of the same experts and practitioners who created PEIGG for the US in the 2006-2008 timeframe, later joined forces with international peers developing to develop global IPEV guidelines. While the fair value constructs in the US have not changed materially, the IPEV guidelines are completely up to date. We recommend those firms still referring to PEIGG now start referring to IPEV. Appendix I of the NVCA 2013 Yearbook has more color on this.

Q: Is this guidance considered “authoritative”?

A:  No. The only authoritative guidance for those reporting under US GAAP is from FASB. The SEC has delegated the creation of authoritative accounting policy to FASB. That said, much help is needed to apply the accounting theory in the standards to the venture capital, growth equity, and private equity reporting. IPEV rules were developed in the open by a number of practitioners, service providers,  and experts from the LP, GP, and accounting policy worlds. We are aware of other efforts being considered and underway to create additional non-authoritative guidance and we are very comfortable endorsing the IPEV guidelines to our members.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 18:32
 

22

May

2013

Senate Judiciary Moves Immigration Reform PDF Print E-mail

Jennifer Dowling

Written by Jennifer Connell Dowling   
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The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced last month by Sens. Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Rubio, Bennet and Flake.  Under the leadership of Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, the committee slogged its way through over 212 amendments before voting 13-5 to approve the measure as amended.

Two important amendments to note for our industry and entrepreneurs:  First, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse introduced an amendment, accepted by the committee, that adds qualified startup accelerators as entities that can also sponsor entrepreneurs for an INVEST visa.  His amendment also clarifies that the level of investment an entrepreneur must raise in order to qualify for an INVEST visa can be met from a combination of qualified investors rather than having to be raised from only one investor.  Additional details on the INVEST visa can be found here.

Second, the amended bill eased some of the restrictions on H-1B visas, particularly around the issue of a company proving that it had attempted to hire American workers before being allowed to hire someone on an H-1B.  The tech community had expressed serious concerns that the provisions as originally written could have proved unworkable.

The bill still has a long way to go – supporters will have to stave off another round of attempts to change the bill when the full Senate considers it in early June.  And, the House of Representatives is still mulling its own version of reform.  Despite those obstacle, the strong Judiciary Committee vote has pushed the bill through one of the most difficult gates.  We’ll continue to add our voice supporting those efforts.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:41
 
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