Yesterday, the White House announced it was delaying and likely eliminating the International Entrepreneur Rule. This rule is the closest we’ve come to a Startup Visa, something I’ve been working on with numerous other people since 2009. Several failed bills in Congress, a failed bipartisan Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill, and an Executive Order later, and we still have nothing.
I’m disappointed but not surprised. Steve Case says it really well in his article America Will Fall Behind Without Immigrant Entrepreneurs. I won’t repeat his words here because I agree 100% with them. I encourage you to go read his post if this is a topic you care about.
If you just want Steve’s punch line, it follows:
“The data is clear: immigrant entrepreneurs are job makers, not job takers. And today, we just pushed them to create jobs somewhere else.”
Jeff Farrah of The National Venture Capital Association wrote a thoughtful post titled An Unforced Error for Job Creation. It explains what the International Entrepreneurship Rule is and why delaying and rescinding it is at fundamental odds with a number of goals of the Trump Administration. Jeff’s article ends with a clear message.
“Finally, rescinding the rule is at odds with the administration’s goal of advancing emerging technology. Last month, top VCs joined President Trump at the White House to discuss how to bring to life next-generation technology. What was one of the key recommendations from venture leaders? Retain the International Entrepreneur Rule so the best technology is created and developed here rather than overseas. Today’s action is 180 degrees from the recommendation of successful startup leaders.
The administration’s move is certainly a setback, but it’s far from the end of the road. NVCA will continue to be the leading voice in Washington for immigrant entrepreneurship. We’ll continue to advocate that the Trump Administration reverse course and allow the International Entrepreneur Rule to take effect. Only then will the United States realize the full benefit of immigrant entrepreneurs to our nation.”
While I agree that it’s a setback, in the eight years since a group of us started advocating for a startup visa, entrepreneurship has taken off around the world. A number of other countries now have startup visas modeled after the original US startup visa idea. As entrepreneurship is democratizing the world, the US has exported a great idea for attracting entrepreneurs to one’s country, while denying the US’s ability to do this for itself.
That’s unfortunate and disappointing for the US, but great for the rest of the world.
I’m going to the NVCA annual meeting May 14 and 15 and if you are a VC, you should also. I haven’t been to one in many years, but this year is different. First, my partner Jason is running it. That being said, if the meeting was going to suck I still wouldn’t go.
I’m excited about the agenda. Not only is my good friend Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter speaking, but so are General Colin Powell, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and CEO of 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki. And for the first time, “fun” is part of the meeting in the form of NVCA Live! featuring Pat Monahan from Train and Legitimate Front, headed up by Jason and our other partner Ryan.
If you are a VC, I hope to see you there. If you are an entrepreneur, ask your VC funders for tickets to NVCA Live!, as that is open to everyone, although tickets are only purchasable by NVCA members.
The National Venture Capital Association regularly has webcasts aimed at various members of the venture capital community. On January 23rd from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Eastern they are having one titled Beyond the Limited Partnership Agreement – Issues For Challenging Times. The description follows:
The current global financial crisis is impacting the venture community in ways that no other economic crisis has. For the first time in our industry’s history, some of the most committed, long term investors in the private equity asset class are reevaluating their commitment, shifting strategy and making the future uncertain. Join us on January 23rd for a provocative discussion as our panel discusses many of the provisions that define the relationship between General Partners and Limited Partner investors, and how these are impacted by challenging economic conditions. In addition, our panel will cover some of the inevitable consequences that may affect the internal operations of the venture firm.
The panelists are:
Howard Rosenblum, Partner, DLA Piper LLP (moderator)
Eric Fitzgerald, Director of Venture Capital Investments, MetLife
Michael Greeley, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
Tom Hodge, COO and General Partner, Frazier Healthcare & Technology Ventures
If you are interested, register directly on the NVCA site to participate.