Startup News Digest 9/21/2018

Want to nominate an entrepreneur to be featured in StartupsEverywhere for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)? Email Jen Fox.

The Big Story: 

Privacy Looms Large in Washington. With California’s sweeping new privacy bill moving forward, federal policymakers are accelerating efforts to tackle consumer digital privacy issues with a slate of new bills and hearings. This week, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) released a consumer privacy bill that creates stronger “opt in” requirements for companies seeking to collect consumer data and authorizes the FTC to create and enforce rules consistent with the legislation. The Senate is getting in on the action as well, with a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on privacy issues scheduled for next Wednesday, September 26, featuring witnesses from large tech and telecom companies.

Policy Roundup:

New York AG Releases Critical Report on Cryptocurrency Exchanges. The New York Office of the Attorney General released a report on some of the most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges, challenging the policies and practices common in the crypto exchange market. The Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative Report summarizes the findings of a survey the AG sent to crypto exchanges in April, focusing on the exchanges’ consumer protections, policies regarding employee trading, and compliance with anti-money laundering obligations. While the report does not impose any penalties or propose any forthcoming regulatory activity impacting the sector, its framing suggests a negative view of the crypto market. New York has already faced criticism from industry for its controversial BitLicense regime, which purported to create regulatory certainty for crypto companies but has suffered from slow approval processes and burdensome restrictions.

 Senate Passes Music Modernization Act to Clarify Regulation of Pre-1972 Recordings. The Senate unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act, a bill that streamlines online music licensing and creates a federal standard governing pre-1972 recordings, which previously had been outside the scope of federal copyright law and subject to a confusing patchwork of state rules. The House had previously passed a version of the bill that drew the ire of civil society groups for creating quasi-copyright protections for pre-1972 recordings that would have kept them from entering the public domain until 2067. The updated bill that passed the Senate garnered support from a diverse range of music industry groups, tech companies, and public interest organizations. Now, the House and Senate must reconcile the differences in their versions of the bill before it can be signed into law.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Los Angeles, C.A. September 15 officially kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month. To celebrate and support latino entrepreneurs, we met with Robbie Cabral, founder and CEO of BenjiLock. Robbie hopes that policymakers can focus on creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs from every walk of life.

A different look at capital. A study by Crunchbase found that companies that raised comparatively smaller amounts of money tended to produce a more favorable ratio of valuation to invested capital. Regionally, Midwestern companies that found an exit, they tended to raise the least amount of money while simultaneously achieving the highest median exit value. How does your region stack up?

In D.C. next week? Please join us with host Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Dell Technologies Chairman and CEO Michael Dell and MATHCOUNTS Executive Director Kristen Chandler for a quiz-bowl style math competition, where middle school Mathletes are paired with members of Congress and technology industry leaders in a single elimination bracket tournament. The event will be held on Tuesday, September 25th at 2:00 – 3:00 PM, Kennedy Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building. RSVP here.