Limited access to capital can be one of the biggest challenges a startup faces. Seed stage venture capital investment in startups has dropped by more than 70 percent since its peak in 2000. Congress has taken steps toward loosening regulations on how startups can raise money from new groups of investors, including “crowdfunding” which may open up an entirely new market for equity investment. Policymakers and the Securities and Exchange Commission must protect investors while implementing new laws that create sustainable capital streams for entrepreneurs.
Kim Lane, the Conductor’s CEO and all-around ecosystem builder, has seen the region change dramatically with the help of the public and private sectors. Kim and her team work closely with policymakers to develop policies that encourage entrepreneurship. Healthcare and education are top on her policy wishlist.
Engine responded to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on their Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on the review of export controls for certain “emerging and foundational technologies.” The ANPRM is part of the recently passed Export Control Reform Act of 2018 which seeks to curb exports on national security technology.
New year, new Congress, same issues. The new year and the new Congress kicked off this week, but many of the policy debates that concerned startups in 2018 will continue on. As the Democrats take control of the House and the gavels of key committees, expect vigorous oversight of the Trump administration across the board, which is likely to impact several of the policy areas startups care most about, including trade, net neutrality at the Federal Communications Commission, and more.
Engine filed comments with the Department of Homeland Security on a proposed rulemaking that would change the registration requirements for H-1B visas.
Lawmakers up privacy push after latest Facebook scandal. Following a bombshell report this week about Facebook’s data sharing practices, lawmakers are renewing their push for federal privacy protections for consumers online.
Robyn Exton, founder of HER, started her company in Europe and expanded to the United States, offering a unique perspective of the ecosystems. Robyn is supportive of policies that encourage more inclusive and diverse companies, from gender to country of origin.
We met with Thuc Vu, cofounder and CEO of OhmniLabs, a startup that produces home robots that help people communicate at a distance. Vu and his team have partnered with policymakers to help communities in their healthcare and workforce development efforts. As OhmniLabs continues to grow, Vu hopes policymakers look for solutions to immigration reform and incentivizing research and development.
As 2018 comes to a close, one key policy area that is sure to take center-stage in 2019 is the passage of the updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). While the USMCA is a big win for startups in several areas, Congress should continue to push the Administration in two areas to ensure that entrepreneurs will flourish under the new agreement. Overall, the USMCA sets a high standard for future free trade agreements and will positively impact the growth of American startups.