Startup News Digest 11/4/16

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

Letter to the Next President on Behalf of Female Entrepreneurs. This week, 84 business executives, both male and female, penned an open letter to our next president detailing the steps that he or she should take to bolster the participation of women in entrepreneurship. They grouped their suggestions into three broad categories: access to financial and human capital, access to local and global markets and networks, and help with the changing-face of technology. The lack of diversity in startups and investments is well documented. But it’s also indisputable that improving the landscape for female entrepreneurs will create positive economic and social impacts. As the group pointed out in their letter, if women and men participated equally in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the United States’ GDP could rise by $30 billion. The business leaders also noted that women invest 90 percent of their income into their communities, meaning that an investment in their careers could easily benefit society as a whole.  

#FreeRideToVote. Election day is right around the corner. Interested in sponsoring someone's ride to the polls? What about having your ride to the polls paid for? For many, simply getting to the polls can be an impediment to participating in an election. That’s why Engine has partnered with Open Collective to crowdfund rides to the polls on November 8th. If you live in a swing state (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin) and would like to have your trip to vote reimbursed, fill out this form and we will let you know if you are eligible.

Bring Better Broadband Choice to SF. The Bay Area is home to a relatively large number of competitive broadband providers—we’ve got Webpass, Monkeybrains, Sonic, Fastmetrics, Etheric Networks, and a number of other companies competing with big incumbents. But unfortunately, these services are not available to everyone: if you live in an apartment or condo, you may not be able to choose who delivers your broadband. In a blog post published this week, our policy analyst Emma Peck explores why this is the case and how an ordinance proposed by San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell will give residents more freedom in choosing a broadband provider.

Policymakers Raise Concerns around IoT Security. The top ranking Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week, urging the agency to “act to protect consumers from insecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices.” The letter follows the massive October 21 DDoS cyberattack that shut down a number of websites and was executed by exploiting vulnerable IoT devices. The lawmakers recommended a number of actions, including calling on IoT manufacturers to implement better security measures and warning consumers of the risks of using default passwords on connected devices. The E&C Dems are not the first policymakers to raise concerns about this issue. In the wake of the attack, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) wrote letters to a number of federal agencies highlighting security concerns arising out of the DDoS attacks. As cyberattacks like these increase in impact and frequency, regulators and lawmakers will continue to evaluate various approaches for ensuring a more secure internet of things. We’re tracking.

Join Us in DC on 11/15 for Vets in Tech Briefing. Engine is co-hosting a briefing next month with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the Diversifying Tech Caucus, and the Congressional Future Caucus on preparing veterans for tech careers. The event will be held on November 15 in the Cannon House Office Building. It will explore the actions that the government and the private sector can take to advance opportunities for veterans looking to enter the tech sector, a topic that Engine has addressed previously. Space is limited—make sure to sign up early!