At Engine, we’ve seen firsthand some of the extraordinary contributions that immigrant entrepreneurs have made to the startup economy. One-third of U.S. venture-backed companies that went public between 2006 and 2012 had at least one immigrant founder. Moreover, immigrant entrepreneurs started, in whole or in part, some of the most important technology companies of our time, including Google, Intel, Yahoo!, eBay, and WhatsApp. In fact, the United States was home to almost 2.9 million foreign entrepreneurs who generated $65.5 billion in business income in 2014.
With a population of almost 3 million (that is growing by 100,000 every year), ten Fortune 500 companies, and a strong network of regional universities, it may be unfair to call Denver a city on the rise. However, Denver residents will be the first to recognize that the city’s environment for early stage entrepreneurs and startup innovation is continuing to develop and there is still a lot of room for the city to grow. The Rise of the Rest tour, with Steve Case at the helm, spent its second day on the road in Denver to learn from the successes and challenges of the ecosystem and inspire the wider business, policy, and educational leaders in the area to support its many entrepreneurs.
In the 1860s, the First Transcontinental Railroad was constructed, connecting Omaha, NE to Sacramento, CA. It was fitting, then, that we kicked off Rise of the Rest’s western tour with a symbolic visit to to Lauritzen Gardens, the original site of the railway. While the rail line was one of Nebraska’s earliest “startups,” today there is a new startup scene taking hold in Omaha and Lincoln—one fueled by growing investment, exceptional local talent and ideas, and a unique culture around support and community.
As a non-profit policy organization committed to making the world better for startups, Engine has a long history of engagement on copyright reform issues. Indeed, Engine began as an effort to harness the political power of the startup community that emerged from the tech world’s fight against the ill-fated SOPA/PIPA copyright bills. While the SOPA/PIPA battle remains a critical milestone in the emergence of tech as a political force, our work to return copyright law to a system that promotes rather than hinders innovation is only beginning. To help further this crucial mission, we are proud to join the Re:Create Coalition, a group of creators, innovators, and users working to ensure that copyright laws are balanced and foster innovation, creativity, and economic growth.
Equity compensation, often in the form of stock options, is a critical tool used by startups to attract, retain, and incentivize quality employees. But stock options have a downside: current tax law requires that employees pay an immediate tax when they exercise their options, usually long before they can sell those stocks to realize their full economic value. Fortunately, a bill being considered today by the House Ways and Means Committee could remedy this problem.
The patent system was enshrined in the American Constitution as a tool to promote innovation and invention. But as we have lamented again, and again, and again, the current system often has the opposite effect. In recent years, patent trolls—more politely known as non-practicing entities or NPEs—have hijacked the patent system, amassing hundreds and thousands of overbroad, low-quality patents with the sole purpose of suing and forcing companies into costly settlements. Unfortunately, this abusive patent litigation disproportionately impacts startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators (more than 80 percent of patent troll victims are small- and medium-sized businesses, and 55 percent of troll suits are filed against companies with revenues of less than $10 million).
For decades, the tech and startup community paid little attention to Washington, D.C. Entrepreneurs chose to focus their energies on building their companies, without much regard for the happenings of Congress or state legislatures. But in recent years, startups have begun to recognize that the decisions made by policymakers in a distant city can have a huge impact on their day-to-day operations and bottom lines. While the lawmaking process might seem long, laborious, and, at times, incomprehensible, it is more important than ever for the entire startup ecosystem to proactively engage policymakers at all levels of government—not only to foster a startup-friendly environment but also to anticipate and shape important policy debates that will affect America and the tech and startup communities for years to come.
Engine is excited to announce that we will be hitting the road again this October for Revolution’s fifth Rise of the Rest tour. Rise of the Rest is a road show to highlight and support entrepreneurship across America. Over the past four tours, we’ve had the chance to see thriving startup ecosystems in places like Baltimore, Nashville, and Detroit.
As the Republican National Convention kicked off this Monday, the GOP also released the final draft of their party’s platform. The platform, which was written with input from the party’s base sourced via www.platform.gop, included generous mentions of issues important to the startup community.
The incredible growth in mobile internet use over the past few years is nothing short of staggering. There are now around 6.4 billion internet connected devices worldwide, and that number is increasing by 5.5 million every single day. Some predictions suggest that we could reach over 20 billion connected devices by 2020, prompting a boom in the startups that will build the gadgets and services powering the coming Internet of Things (IoT). But such optimistic estimates assume that we’ll have the infrastructure to support billions of these connected devices.
Historically, startups have had little occasion to pay attention to the proceedings of our nation’s highest court. While arcane questions of constitutional law have an enormous impact on broader society, the Supreme Court’s activities are often too far removed from the challenges entrepreneurs must handle every day to simply keep their businesses afloat. But, an upcoming case on the Supreme Court’s docket may warrant a shift from this traditional mindset, as the outcome of the dispute could have a resounding impact on startups and small businesses in all industries.
As the dust settles from last week’s stunning Brexit vote, the broader tech community, which staunchly supported remaining a part of the European Union (EU), is taking stock of the potential repercussions of the decision. While the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU still have to negotiate the exact terms of the deal (assuming the British can cobble together a new government committed to the Brexit), uncertainty surrounds several key issues important to the tech community.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finalized its long-awaited small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rules on Tuesday, making it much easier for businesses to use drones for new and innovative commercial purposes. These rules provide much-needed clarity for the emerging drone industry and put the U.S. ahead of most countries, though significant gaps in the regulatory framework remain.
The RIAA and its allies in the traditional music industry continue to ramp up their efforts to undo one of the key laws that made the modern internet possible, releasing a letter to Congress yesterday signed by dozens of musicians arguing that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is somehow ruining the music industry.
Recent headlines from around the country suggest that Silicon Valley has united against Trump...In addition to analyzing what influential venture capitalists and executives have to say about Trump, it’s just as important we take a close look at the issues and positions that impact the industry at large, from the major tech firms headquartered in the Valley to the single-person startups building new technologies and services in cities around the country.
By the end of the year, over one million veterans will have transitioned from the military to civilian life since 2011, settling into communities across the country and charting new career paths for themselves. For some veterans, pursuing the educational opportunities covered by the GI Bill will be their logical next step.
On May 16, 2016, regulation crowdfunding will go into effect, meaning for the first time ever,anyone can invest in a startup through an online platform. This is big. Until Congress passed the JOBS Act in 2012, buying an equity stake in a company required being fairly wealthy or having a pre-existing relationship with the entrepreneurs raising capital. But the Internet has dramatically changed the way entrepreneurs share their ideas and connect with potential investors. With the JOBS Act, the law finally caught up as well – or it almost did.
Do you run a growth accelerator, incubator, co-working space, shared maker-space, or other entrepreneurial ecosystem organization? If so, you might be eligible to compete for a $50,000 prize from the government. Last week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) launched its Growth Accelerator Fund Competition for the third year in a row. Each year, the agency awards $50,000 prizes to selected organizations to help cover part of their operating budgets.
Startups across the country are building the next generation of Internet applications, connected devices, and innovative services—all of which rely on access to unlicensed spectrum. This week, Engine joined a diverse coalition of 23 organizations and companies in urging President Barack Obama to ensure that enough unlicensed spectrum is made available to meet growing demand.