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The big topic on Capitol Hill this week is protecting consumer privacy with one committee hearing in the House and three in the Senate. In late 2013, Target suffered a massive data breach affecting up to 110 million customers and they will be represented at two of the hearings — along with representatives from Neiman Marcus, Symantec, Consumers Union, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission and more. Other topics covered by hearings this week include: the 2014 budget, inefficiencies in federal programs for small businesses, Dodd-Frank’s Volcker Rule, financial research and the commercialization of space.
Innovation Fund America (IFA), our program delivering high-impact education, coaching and pre-seed funding to scalable, technology-based startups via community colleges around the country, has quietly been having a big couple of months. It's a complicated and demanding program to launch and it's taken nearly a year and a half to get to this point, but we're excited that IFA is now open for business in two communities--and we're really just getting started.
Tuning in for the state of the union (SOTU) address is somewhat of an annual ritual for me. For the past two decades, spanning several presidencies from both parties, I torture myself straining to hear that one word, however challenging it is to say (and spell)--entrepreneur. So I was encouraged when President Obama dropped the "E" bomb early in his 2014 SOTU address, made even more special by the fact that he referenced a woman entrepreneur. And I wasn't alone in my enthusiasm as the twittersphere erupted likewise.
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind. For a startup, IP likely refers to a particular product.
Bit by bit, entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. are picking up confidence along the road to economic recovery — and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is. The latest Startup Confidence Index from the Kauffman Foundation and LegalZoom shows a greater willingness from entrepreneurs to put personal savings toward new business ventures. Personal savings as a means for funding the startup jumped from 66 percent in 2012 to 86 percent in 2013.
Toward the tail end of 2013, we highlighted a couple of reports that pointed to a fairly stable angel market in the U.S. The latest from one of those reports, the Halo Report — from Angel Resource Institute (ARI), Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and CB Insights — may suggest reason for a bit of concern. According to the report, median angel round sizes are down $180,000 per deal since Q1 2013 ($700,000 to $520,000).
This week, I am on the ground in Italy where startup savvy policymakers are experimenting with new policies as fast as their startups are testing disruptive ideas. Both are racing in tandem to restore sustained economic growth to the Italian economy.
Early-stage entrepreneurs and startups typically need to work with at least two types of lawyers.
Once you've heard the insight--that startups are different from big companies--it seems so obvious. Yet too often entrepreneurs, and those that teach them, approach the building of new companies with the same goals, staff structures and assumptions that motivate the management of large companies. Startup founders build teams to focus on engineering, and on the process of creating a product and bringing it to market.
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