Startups Assist Sandy Recovery

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As the federal government moves to assist communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, startups are lending a helping hand to their neighbors and one another as well. Mashable’s Zoe Fox today reported on entrepreneurs opening their offices to other companies and providing relief services to their communities.

Engine joined with New York Tech Meetup at the NYU Stern School of Business last week, where people gathered from many different corners of the New York startup community to discuss not just the upcoming election, but also a blueprint to turn moments of advocacy into a lasting movement of tech companies and allies working together on issues that affect our communities.

Disasters like Sandy have devastating consequences for families, individuals, and small businesses. The New York Tech Meetup team has put together a Google Survey taking requests for technology assistance in the wake of the storm.

The Engine team encourages you to spread the word. If you are looking for assistance or opportunities to give or volunteer on the Lower East Side, Redhook, Staten Island, or Astoria, consider using Recovers, an Engine member that coordinates disaster relief.

National Entrepreneurship Month


This morning, the White House declared November National Entrepreneurship month. The introduction of the Startup America Legislative Agenda and the JOBS Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in February, has demonstrated the focus of policymakers on Americans who build new businesses.

The American economy depends on startups. Creating an atmosphere where entrepreneurs take calculated risks, investors help young companies grow and thrive, and technology facilitates the emergence of new markets and products will help lead our country out of the economic slump.

For a year that began with SOPA, a dark moment for internet entrepreneurs, 2012 has been a very positive for those of us championing innovation and entrepreneurship. After beating back SOPA, a new, emboldened constituency of innovators sought to improve the business climate for entrepreneurship. To that end, many of us fought for and won passage of the JOBS Act and started an important conversation on Startup Act 2.0, which we hope will become law early in the next Congress.

Though this entire month is dedicated to American entrepreneurship, November 16th is reserved in particular to be National Entrepreneurship Day as a celebration of America’s innovative prospects. At Engine, we are pleased that the President and his administration have singled out the promise of entrepreneurship, and look forward to continuing to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to champion the cause of entrepreneurship.

Photo courtesy of Trevor McGoldrick.

Detroit: Startup City


Over the last two days, I’ve been hanging out with some of the brightest young minds in a growing startup community, talking about strategies for growth, ways to strengthen the local startup community, ways to connect different silos of entrepreneurs, and much more.

And the best part is I did it all in the shadow of the home of winners of the American League Pennant.

Reports of Detroit’s renaissance have been premature before. The Motor City has gotten a lot of bad press for decades in the wake of crime, unemployment, widespread poverty, and more. This visit, though, has made me optimistic about the future of the city. While the auto bailout has helped turn around the seemingly endless string of bad stories coming out of Southeastern Michigan, another part of the economy is adding jobs and building community.

Detroit has always been an entrepreneurial city. The United States has an auto industry because Henry Ford had an idea and revolutionized manufacturing here in Michigan. Today, startups are taking root in Downtown Detroit like never before.

I met many local entrepreneurs yesterday at the M@dison Building, across the street from Ford Field and Comerica Park, where we gathered for Brand Camp University run by Detroit Entrepreneur and Engine collaborator Hajj Flemings. Flemings also joined Engine in June for Startup Day on the Hill. Brand Camp was a day packed full of interesting chats with a diverse group of entrepreneurs including Brad Feld, Boulder’s venture capitalist extraordinaire, Startup America COO Kathleen Warner, content strategist C.C. Chapman, myself, and others. Through all of the presentations based on the theme of “Build, Innovate and Grow Detroit,” young Detroiters gained insights and asked really excellent questions about how to start businesses and contribute to the city’s success.

I also had the opportunity to meet with many of the next generation of Detroit entrepreneurs this morning at the Startup Ventures event on the city’s East Side. More than 175 high school students focused on science and technology gathered at the UAW-GM facility along the Detroit River for a wide-ranging discussion of entrepreneurship, the importance of education in STEM fields, building business in a strong Detroit, and more. It was a powerful experience to be surrounded by motivated young minds keen to learn, many of whom pitched me on some great business ideas.

Overall, I’m leaving Detroit tomorrow with one pervasive thought: that this city, so long on the brink, has a road back to prominence. And with entrepreneurs taking the lead in building a new, stronger Detroit, they’re in good hands along the way.

Photo Courtesy of Patricia Drury.

reroute/sf: a New Model for City-Startup Collaboration


This weekend Engine, along with the City of San Francisco and friends in the tech community, will co-host reroute/sf, a hackathon in which engineers, designers, and business minded folks will form teams to build technology that aims to improve transit in San Francisco.

When our team met with representatives from the City of San Francisco and the SFMTA eight months ago, our message was simple: let’s work together to find technological solutions to overcome the transit challenges affecting the city. Access to transit is important for growing businesses aiming to establish and keep their headquarters in San Francisco.

The problem? Finding a constructive way to address San Franciscans’ transit frustrations in a way that works within the City’s infrastructure and resource constraints. To avoid the pitfalls of similar attempts and ensure real change, a new approach had to be taken -- we had to work closely with the City and local civic organizations to engineer immediately applicable and actionable solutions.

Mark Wills, a designer at Hattery, came up with reroute/sf, a hackathon that uses technology to address problems that citizens and the City agree need to be fixed. We worked together with local officials to determine the core challenges that technology might be able to solve, and we have energized the technology community behind the potential to make their city a better place to live.

This weekend, we’re ready to open our doors for reroute/sf, with the hope that our friends who code, design, and pitch will deliver interesting and useful inventions to help improve our City. The SFMTA has committed to working with the winning teams to make their innovations real, and Google Maps has generously provided grants for the winners to support this collaborative work.

While we aspire to produce new transit technologies this weekend, we also hope for reroute/sf to be a model for future partnerships between the City and the startup community.

At Austin Startup Week


I’m excited to be in Austin for Startup Week. I’m here to meet with local startups and key players in the startup community as well as to tell Austin’s story of entrepreneurial growth. Local hubs for tech and for entrepreneurship are dotted all across the country, and each one is vital to the continued growth of the American economy as a whole. Engine is partnering with local organizations committed to growing the startup community here in Austin, including the Austin Technology Council and the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

On Wednesday, I spoke to a group of about 50 local entrepreneurs on a panel titled “Policy vs. Pitch” outlining some of the issues on the horizon in which the startup community can have a voice. There was consensus that while entrepreneurs tend to and ought to prioritize building their product above participating in policymaking. Their participation through platforms like Engine will be crucial in moving debates and helping the startup community grow. Issues like immigration reform, STEM education, and patent were highlighted as leading concerns to which the startup community should lend its voice.

And yesterday, I spoke with representatives from three congressional offices on startup policy, along with local entrepreneurs Mitch Jacobson from Austin Technology Incubator and Eric Overton, chief executive of Focus Embedded. We discussed ideas for better high-skill immigration, small business growth and other issues as part of the Austin Chamber’s involvement with Startup Week. I’m particularly happy to have had the opportunity to discuss Startup Act 2.0, a great idea we’ve touched on here many times before, and learn more about its prospects in the new Congress. All of the participants were confident about the prospects for entrepreneurship legislation in the new Congress and left the meeting eager to continue working to make these changes a reality.

I’m glad to be having these conversations in an environment as vibrant and engaged as Austin’s tech scene. Like many other entrepreneurial communities, Austin is showing how cities can grow based on investing in the startup community. I’m hopeful we can take the successes and the experience that Austin has had and translate it to help other communities grow throughout the country.

The First Presidential Debate: Will Startups be on the Agenda?

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Tonight, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will take the stage with President Barack Obama at the University of Denver, for the first of three debates between the two candidates as we edge ever closer to election day. Tonight’s debate will focus on domestic policy. We’re hoping to see startups and entrepreneurship prioritized in the debate, as both are a vital and growing force in the American economy.

Both the President and Governor Romney have taken positions in their campaign platforms that would impact the startup community -- from investment in STEM education to reforming high-skilled immigration and others.

President Obama has laid out much of this vision with his Startup America legislative agenda, promoting policies such as granting green cards to the recipients of advanced degrees from U.S. universities, expanding and making permanent capital gains tax exemptions for small businesses, and championing crowdfunding and other financial regulation reforms passed in the JOBS Act in February of this year.

Governor Romney has backed similar proposals, and others that include programs to attract more high-skilled immigrants, strengthening the research and development tax credit and proposed amendments for Sarbanes-Oxley.

But will the candidates elevate these issues and others to the national stage of tonight’s debate?

America is in need of bold leadership. Our economy is still on the road to recovery, but startups are leading the way in creating jobs and pulling us up out of the recession. Government should pay attention to the potential for growth in reforming areas like immigration, education, and financial regulation, in order to give America the opportunity to reclaim our strong economy and cement our position as a global leader.

We hope that both candidates prioritize these important issues in tonight’s debate. Whatever the outcome of the election in five weeks, we look forward to working with the President and Congress on behalf of our community to make a better regulatory environment for startups reality.

Image from Creative Commons

Engine Welcomes Reps. Chaffetz and Goodlatte


Last week, Engine hosted Representatives Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. The lawmakers, both Republicans, joined a host of startups to discuss issues involving copyright, patents, and other intellectual property issues critical to entrepreneurs developing technology products for consumers.

The conversation revolved around a number of subjects. Entrepreneurs expressed concern about a second coming of bills like SOPA and PIPA as well as an interest in fixing the patent regime to keep trolls from harming young companies. We also discussed Rep. Chaffetz’s Internet Radio Fairness Act of the 2012 -- introduced with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon -- which would level the playing field between radio broadcasters online and off.

Rules changing how startups can use and display content will be critical to the evolution of the technology industry. At Engine, we will continue to get entrepreneurs involved in the debate on intellectual property as it affects their businesses.

Register to Vote Today!

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Today is National Voter Registration Day, a grassroots project which Engine and hundreds of other organizations across the political spectrum are cosponsoring to register more people to vote.

Elected officials on both sides of the aisle are beginning to take note of many issues critical to the startup community. You have the opportunity to shape the debate by casting a vote for candidates who share your views. Civic participation and pride are important; it’s critical that you weigh in on the issues and vote for candidates you want in government to make our democracy more complete and representative.

But you can’t do this if you’re not registered.

Maybe this is the first election you’re eligible to vote in, maybe you moved or changed address and forgot to update your registration, maybe you never had reason to vote before. Whatever your situation, there’s good news: You still have time to make your voice heard.

Across the country today, events are being held where you can sign up. Find one close to you here, or visit the NVRD website and follow #925NVRD on Twitter for more information.

You can also register through the NVRD site directly, as well as with our friends at, a site from the Center for Rights

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and Personal Democracy Media, where you can learn more about issues impacting the internet in this election. However you register, and however you vote, you can make a difference in the upcoming election. We hope you do both.

Watch Commissioner Brill @ Engine for State of the Net West

Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission joined us yesterday to discuss issues impacting technology companies at an event co-hosted by Engine as part of the Congressional Internet Caucus’ State of the Net West series. The commissioner heard from entrepreneurs, policy wonks, journalists, and activists in the technology and startup ecosystems. You can watch the event in full here:

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill @ Engine from Engine Advocacy on Vimeo.

We are encouraged by federal regulators’ increased interest in connecting with entrepreneurs on policies that influence their businesses. Q&A from the crowd touched on a number of tech policy subjects including Do Not Track standards, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the commission’s work on mobile app privacy, and its actions against larger companies like Facebook and Google. The conversation primarily centered on regulations’ impact on innovation across the internet economy.

The FTC has focused on providing guidelines to developers to better and more clearly inform mobile app users. A recent Pew Internet and American Life Project survey found that more than half of people that use apps decided not to download a program based on information about the data it would need to collect to operate. It will be important for the commission to keep in mind the sophistication of users as it continues to pursue guidelines on the amount of information and disclosure imposed on mobile developers.

We will continue to host events that connect entrepreneurs and startups to policymakers and we hope to continue our partnership with the Congressional Internet Caucus in the future. If you would like to find out more about Engine events join us as a member and we’ll keep you in the loop.

Work with SF City to Fix Transit

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San Francisco commuters! Hate traffic? Stuck on a slow BART train or Muni car? Having trouble flagging a taxi or locking up your bike? Now is your chance to come together to help the city improve one of its key services: transportation. We’re inviting you to spend a weekend using technology to help San Franciscans get around.

Next month, on the weekend spanning October 19-21, Engine is co-hosting reroute/sf, a hackathon focused on improving transportation in San Francisco, with Hattery Labs, SF Mayor’s Office and the SFMTA. Don’t ride public transport? No worries -- we’re looking for commuters of all stripes that bike, walk, ride, or drive to join us.

Teams of one to four developers, designers, and business people are invited to the Hattery to build open source technologies that address transportation challenges in one of three areas posed by SFMTA and the other co-hosts: data collection, trip planning, or rider feedback. If there’s something not on this list you’re interested in solving, awesome. Hack whatever it is you think needs fixing. Winners will work with the City to implement their technology and, of course, receive prizes.

For more information and to sign up, visit

Startups: Talk Data Reg with FTC Commissioner Brill


Engine is excited to host a townhall with Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission Wednesday at 4:00 pm. Join us for the event at The Hattery in SOMA (414 Brannan Street, San Francisco, California). Video will be available after if you can’t attend. We’re bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, policy wonks, and lawmakers to talk about data, privacy, and other policies that impact small businesses and technology firms. Commissioner Brill’s visit is part of the Congressional Internet Caucus’ State of the Net West series.

Why should startups care about the FTC? The agency has been working to create guidelines for businesses on consumer privacy, releasing its “final report” on the subject March 26. Data exchange is central to the relationship between internet-based businesses and their consumers. Maintaining and enhancing trust between innovators and users will be critical to the continued success of startups across the web.

While the commission has focused on large tech companies, search engines, internet service providers, data brokers, and web browsers, perspective from dynamic young companies may help in the construction of policies that preserve the internet ecosystem that has opened doors for entrepreneurs.

Large companies tend to have established practices that are easily conveyed to users and the government. Startups, on the other hand, often change strategy, business model, or size rapidly and require a great deal of flexibility. Policymakers must be mindful of these difference as they consider rules that would affect tech companies of all ages and sizes.

Data’s regulation is one of the areas addressed in the issue book we circulated at the party nominating conventions a few weeks ago. So far, the government has taken a relatively low-impact approach to the regulation of data in the form of privacy, cybersecurity, and data breach rules. Calls for the government to become more involved have intensified in recent years. It’s critical that startups and entrepreneurs make their voices heard in this debate to ensure that the opportunity to innovate remains open.

Dialogue between entrepreneurs and lawmakers like Commissioner Brill will be critical to the success of government and business. For new rules to effectively protect customers, businesses must be able to grow, innovate, and offer new products to consumers. Engine’s goal is to foster these connections, inject startups into the policy dialogue, and promote entrepreneurship in Washington and beyond.

Photo courtesy of Priya Deonarain.

Senators Call for Startup Hearing

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Yesterday, members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship called for a hearing on the state of entrepreneurship in America, citing the need to support U.S. job creators at a period in time when new startup formation is slowing.

New firm establishments are the driving force in the U.S. economy, responsible for virtually all net new jobs created in the past three decades. Senators Jerry Moran from Kansas, Scott Brown from Massachusetts, and Marco Rubio from Florida requested the hearing in a letter to Chairwoman Mary Landrieu, citing America’s significant decline in international rankings of startup friendliness. “Once in the top five, the United States has dropped nine places in international just four years,” the Senators wrote.

How are the Senators suggesting we regain our edge? With startup-friendly policies to encourage entrepreneurship and new firm foundation. Specifically, with Startup Act 2.0, a bipartisan bill introduced in both houses of Congress earlier this year, and co-sponsored by Senator Moran.

Startup Act 2.0 contains provisions to ease the way for foreign-born entrepreneurs to remain in the country after graduating from U.S. universities, so they can start their businesses on U.S. soil and create local jobs. It provides incentives to get R&D from our universities on the market. And it provides tax incentives that could encourage investment in startups to create new jobs, boosting startups in driving economic growth and employment. Engine has been a strong supporter of the policy measures proposed in Startup Act 2.0, with information and a tool for action here

We encourage Chairwoman Landrieu to convene this hearing on entrepreneurship in America. Congress needs to hear from the founders and innovators driving the economy and creating the products that will keep America globally competitive.

Engine Party Convention Recap

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Our trip to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions are more proof of Engine’s ability to build the discussion about startups and create knowledge about the critical role innovation plays in our economy. We’re back from a busy few weeks in Tampa and Charlotte. Fresh and energized from talking with hundreds of engaged Americans as well as policymakers from both sides of the aisle about the importance of startups and the innovation economy, we’re looking forward to continuing to work on these issues in the coming months leading up to the election and beyond.

Key at both conventions was the growing certainty that innovation is an issue of national importance. Across the board, people from both parties, from communities all across the country, are concerned with economic prosperity and global competitiveness. We saw this at panels with Startup America and Huffington Post at both conventions. We saw it at events we co-sponsored with Startup Rockon. We heard it from the candidates themselves in their speeches.

We were able to connect with people from all across the country, showing them how high-tech industries and startups in their communities are helping to drive the economy with our data visualization, built on Google maps in partnership with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI). And we launched a guide to the key issues that are affecting startups and innovation.

We’ll be continuing to work with BACEI to examine the data around high-tech sector job growth across the United States, with a full report from BACEI coming out in the Autumn. And we’ll be working with policymakers and candidates to educate them about the issues and help them make good calls for startups in the next Congress and beyond.

Engine @DNC Day 4: Innovation Working for America


If we’re dragging our feet a little after day three of the Democratic convention, we’re not alone. The nominating conventions have been jam packed with great panels, networking events, and opportunities to educate policymakers and convention goers alike about startup issues that will be impacting America’s economy for the next four years.

Yesterday, we kicked off with a breakfast with the Vermont delegation to the convention, as well as special guests Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. We look forward to working with Senator Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee on innovation issues after the November elections.

A Huffington Post lunch panel “What is Working” focused on how America can harness innovation to solve national economic and socio-economic challenges. We also attended the “What is Working” panel at the Republican Convention in Tampa with different panelists, and it was refreshing to hear viewpoints about innovation across the political spectrum. Hosted by Arianna Huffington and Tom Brokaw, yesterday’s panel included Julian Castro, the San Antonio Mayor who impressed delegates with his keynote speech Tuesday night and artist, who talked about his collaboration with NASA and his commitment to bringing STEM education and entrepreneurial opportunity to all Americans.

At CEA’s Innovation Nation event, we spent time chatting to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon about the innovation economy. We then joined our friends from Tumblr to watch the speeches. Former President Bill Clinton highlighted the vital need for innovation and skilled labor to the future of the U.S. economy.

Clinton said, “There are already three million jobs open and unfilled in America mostly because the people who apply for them don’t yet have the required skills … the old economy is not coming back, we’ve got to build a new one.”

We’re excited today to keep spreading the word about the issues policymakers should focus on to keep entrepreneurs and the internet economy flourishing before the conventions close. We look forward to continuing to work with both parties into the next Congress on issues vital to the future of our economy.

Engine @DNC Day 3: Education Takes Center Stage

CastrospeechA rainy Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention saw speeches from candidates, elected officials, and celebrities with a particular focus on the importance of education to the economy. Engine has pursued greater support for education in the United States and the speeches last night in Charlotte drove home the importance of this resource to American ingenuity.

Keynote speaker Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, put a sharp point on the issue, saying “you can’t be pro-business if you’re not pro-education.” First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and actor and former White House liaison Kal Penn each made calls for continued support and reform of the education system from pre-K to Pell Grants.

Our recent work with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute highlights the critical role technology jobs play across the country. We can’t continue to fill these jobs without qualified workers graduating from U.S. schools. The strength of our economy is dependent on the quality of the students we graduate, particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.

Engine is excited to hear more about plans to boost education and will be continuing our conversation with elected officials and delegates throughout the convention season. Stay tuned here for updates from Charlotte and don’t forget to look through our primer on issues that matter to startups

Engine @DNC Day 2: Social Media and Startups in Charlotte

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Today marks the first full day of the second leg of the party nominating conventions. Last week, Engine traveled to Tampa, Florida, speaking with policymakers and delegates from the Republican Party about issues that impact startups. This week, we’re excited to be in Charlotte, North Carolina, soaking up the sun and engaging with policymakers and delegates from the Democratic Party.

Just as in Tampa, we have a packed schedule, meeting with decision-makers and convention-goers alike to discuss the issues facing startups in America this election season, into the next Congress, and beyond. Yesterday we attended a panel discussing the role of social media technology in the political process, hosted by Major Garrett of the National Journal and Garance Franke-Ruta, with the Obama Administration’s Chief Digital Strategist Joe Rospars, as well as panelists from Google, Facebook, and Twitter. From those monitoring the buzz around key political events, we heard that social media is having a major impact in terms of political engagement and that its impact is considerably higher than it was just four years ago.

We’re excited to be partnering with StartUp RockOn, a group promoting entrepreneurialism in both Tampa and Charlotte for the conventions. Last night we co-sponsored an event with the StartUp Rockon team, and we’ll be seeing them again during the convention for a series of panels and other sessions.

Engine will be promoting sound policy on the issues that count for entrepreneurs and innovators. We’ll be passing around a primer on these issues and others that affect startups, and talking to policymakers about how they can help set an agenda that will impact the growth of the U.S. economy and our continued ability to compete globally. As we head into the fall campaign, we’re looking forward to discussing these and other issues for startups in greater depth, working to improve entrepreneurs’ standing as the leaders of the economy.


Engine @RNC Day 5: Rice on Innovation, Onward to Charlotte

Engine leaves Tampa today after making our first trip to a party nominating convention. We’ve worked to raise the profile of startups and the issues that confront them at the convention through a primer on startup issues and a data visualization highlighting the role of tech across the country. Engine wasn’t alone in talking about technology at the conventions; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the case for high skilled immigration in her speech Wednesday night.

“They have come here from the world's most impoverished nations just to make a decent wage. And they have come here from advanced societies as engineers and scientists that fuel the knowledge-based revolution in the Silicon Valley of California, in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, along Route 128 in Massachusetts, in Austin, Texas, and across this great land,” said the Stanford University professor.

Dr. Rice is exactly right about the importance of immigrants to this “knowledge-based” economy, but what she may not know is just how many places are home to these technology industry jobs. Engine has created a data visualization to demonstrate the importance of technology to communities around the country. This includes the innovation hubs she mentioned, but also areas not usually thought of as “high tech” in states like Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota.

As we head north to Charlotte and the Democratic Convention, we will continue to talk about the issues that are impacting technology startups across the country -- from skilled immigration, to STEM education, to broadband and spectrum, to patent and financial regulation. We hope to see some of you there. Stay tuned!

Engine @RNC Day 4: Startups Making a Splash in Tampa

What a week. Speeches! Panels! Data Visualizations! Engine is making the most of our first party nominating convention tour in the southeastern United States and it’s been a pleasure spending time with Republican policymakers and delegates talking about issues that matter to startups.

Throughout the week, Startup RockOn, a group showcasing and promoting startups, hosted a series of panels and events on topics including innovation in digital media, government and startups, and female founders. The Startup America Partnership joined on many of these events. Startup America also worked with The Huffington Post to host a lunch on job creation that particularly highlighted the role of startups. The lunch was followed by a startup expo allowing entrepreneurs to connect with delegates and the media.

Engine has been participating at each of these events in addition to highlighting our data visualization of tech jobs at an event co-hosted by Google and Bloomberg. Startups are central to the dialogue on the economy at the RNC and we plan to keep that dialogue moving forward in Charlotte.

Don’t forget to check out our primer on the issues impacting startups, and keep this dialogue moving in your community as well.

Engine @RNC Day 2: Tech Matters

The sun has finally broken through Isaac’s clouds here in Tampa as Day 2, and the real action of the Republican National Convention, gets underway. The Engine team and a few of our members are coming together here in Florida for a full day of meetings and events with political leaders from across the country.

Yesterday was a relatively quiet day here in Tampa, with the Convention being called to order, and less than two minutes later gaveled to a close, by RNC Chair Reince Priebus. A few events did remain on the schedule outside the convention hall, however, with technology issues at the forefront of many of them. In the morning, our team attended a briefing in Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood on social media and how it is changing politics in this election year, with the National Journal’s Major Garrett, Atlantic Magazine’s Garance Franke-Ruta and CBS News’ former White House Correspondent Norah O’Donnell. Their guests, which ranged from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to Governor Romney’s digital director Zac Moffatt and others, all sounded notes of optimism on the use of new technologies and their impact on the process.

Gov. Snyder, dubbed “Governor Hangout” by his constituents for his use of Google’s video technology to hold town hall meetings around the state, talked about his engagement strategy with voters and how his office uses technology to provide “top-notch customer service” to Michiganders. You can hear more about his strategies by following him on Twitter, @onetoughnerd.

Today is a day packed full of great events in and around the convention hall here in Florida, with Ann Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie taking to the podium among many others. Keep up with what we’re doing by following us on Twitter with more exciting news to come.

Engine @RNC Day 1: Learn the Issues


Today, Engine launches its inaugural trip to the party nominating conventions to promote the cause of startups and entrepreneurs to policymakers and delegates in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina. Our first priority: Highlighting the issues that matter to small businesses, technology startups, and entrepreneurs.

We chose to highlight eight issues that are shaping the startup space, connecting with entrepreneurs to provide insight into how these issues impact their businesses. Our goal is to give convention-goers and decision makers from both parties perspective on some of the biggest issues Congress will have to weigh after the votes are cast.

Check out “Our Internet, Our Economy: Issues Impacting America’s Startups” here and visit throughout convention season for our updates on the ground at the conventions.