They Are Talking On Capital Hill... Make Your Voice Heard

There’s an important conversation happening on Capitol Hill this week, and the outcome is critical to Silicon Valley and every technology hub across the United States.

The proposed Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011, or bill S. 1933, seeks to ease the regulatory burdens and enable increased communications for emerging companies raising capital on the public markets. Introduced by Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on December 1, 2011 with bi-partisan support from five co-sponsors, this could be a critical step toward U.S. economic recovery.

The IPO drought that has besieged the U.S. economy in recent years has shown sluggish signs of improvement over the last year or so. But the regulatory hurdles introduced by Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002 and the residual effects of the 2008 financial crisis continue to make the IPO process for emerging growth companies a daunting and arduous one. The process is prohibitively expensive. Companies can’t protect themselves competitively because of disclosure requirements. They are limited from a communications standpoint. This has thwarted growth, introduced unhealthy speculation, led to consolidation and cut jobs.

When the capital markets are no longer an attractive source of funding, the U.S. economy suffers an impact more grave than many realize. The innovation economy, fueled by early-stage investments in promising, high-growth companies, has long been our nation’s most powerful job creation engine. Vibrant capital markets are a necessary part of that ecosystem – without it, the system doesn’t work. That means fewer jobs, slower economic growth, and continued decline of the U.S. as a global leader in innovation.

According the NVCA, for every $1 of venture capital invested from 1970 – 2010, $6.27 of revenue was generated in 2010. And, HIS Global Insight research suggests that 92 percent of job creation happens after companies are public. We need to ensure that American innovation has access to the capital they need from the start and to the finish line, so they can create more jobs.

I’m encouraged that the Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011 was crafted. I’m hopeful that passing it will enable more small companies to pursue an IPO, and, in the process, fuel U.S. job growth and economic recovery. There is no such thing as a quick fix, but S.1933 is a solid start.

I hope you’ll do what you can to help. Get more information here.