A better question may be will Mitt Romney win the presidency?
But when staffers at the National Venture Capital Association come across a report that refers to the U.S. presidential candidate’s investments as venture capital, apparently they grimace, according to Reuters. And then they contact the author to explain politely why it’s wrong.
The Republican Romney was head of Bain Capital, which does the bulk of its work in private equity and not venture capital, the NVCA likes to clarify.
The distinction has become important as the U.S. election shines a spotlight on the private equity industry, with President Obama’s campaign accusing Romney of slashing U.S. jobs at Bain-owned companies and outsourcing them abroad. (Have you seen the commercials? Any thoughts you’d like to share with VCJ?)
Many people muddle venture capital with high finance and even private equity, including some journalists and politicians, as well as our relatives. And former Republican presidential rival Rick Perry used to call Romney a “vulture capitalist” while the primary race was still in full swing, so we’re not taken aback by the NVCA’s efforts to clear things up.
“People care about what they do and their reputation and what their job is,” Yanev Suissa, a venture fellow at New Enterprise Associates, tells Reuters. “When you’re faced with the attitude that what you do is job-destroying, it’s problematic.”
In the meantime, VCs are split on which party seems more likely to preserve tax breaks for them. While Republicans are considered the party of business, many Democrats supported the JOBS Act, which makes it easier for young companies to raise money. NVCA President Mark Heesen says Republicans might feel more pressure to balance the budget and close up anything seen as a loophole.
The NVCA does not donate to presidential campaigns, but it does give to congressional races, with about $624,000 so far in the 2011-2012 cycle. About $358,000, or 57 percent, has gone to Republicans, the NVCA reports. What’s more, Individual VCs have given $453,550 to the Romney campaign, compared with $402,915 to the Obama campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Opensecrets.org.
Meanwhile, the VC industry might have to start battling as hard for its image in Hollywood as it does in Washington, D.C. A recent episode of the HBO TV show “Girls,” titled “Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too,” cast a venture capitalist as the villain.
Congrats to Aydin Senkut’s Newest Startup!
How is Aydin Senkut going to raise a family and manage a new fund? Apparently, fund management and investing is a lot more simpler of a task.
Senkut just raised $70 million for his third fund at Felicis Ventures. Meanwhile, he’s a daddy again.
As he tweeted in mid-July: “After 2 days in the hospital & having a 2nd son, I really appreciate doctors & nurses. They make what we do look like a walk in the park.”
What Summer Slowdown?
Now that we’re well into the summer months, we recently asked Phil Black, a partner and co-founder of True Ventures, if he’s noticed a summer slowdown.
“There’s no letup,” he says.
In fact, he says it’s been that way ever since September 2008. Sure, that was when Lehman Brothers went under and filed for bankruptcy and spurred the recession. But that was also when True Ventures and SoftTech VC closed a $2 million Series A round for Fitbit, the maker of the fitness tracking device that has now raised $23 million in total capital.
“People may ask if that was a bad time to do a deal, but it was the best time,” he says. “There may not have much liquidity in the marketplace, but there were plenty of deals and good valuations. I’ve seen an unprecedented amount of good deal flow since then.”
The App that Jules Maltz Can’t Live Without
During a recent meeting at the office of Institutional Venture Partners in Menlo Park, Calif., General Partner Jules Maltz asked VCJ Editor Alastair Goldfisher what app he couldn’t live without if, say, he lost his phone.
Our editor answered that he can’t live without one of the photosharing apps, and if you follow him on Path or Instagram, then you know how much he uses those.
What about Maltz? Without hesitation, he said he couldn’t live without Twitter. Well, that shouldn’t be too surprising to insiders, of course. It was Maltz who helped get his GP colleague Todd Chaffee interested in Twitter after Maltz came back from a Churchill Club talk in which he heard Twitter co-founder Evan Williams speak.