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SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, Congress take to SXSW

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) was one of several legislators who participated in SXSW, including on a panel that also featured Ben Johnson of BioSTL representing SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council. Moran promoted the Startup Act — his legislation that SSTI has helped inform — saying the goal of the bill’s improvements to the Regional Innovation Strategies program is to, “Increase the opportunity… to get dollars to organizations across the country that promote entrepreneurship and innovation to bring this opportunity to every American.”

A deeper dive into company valuations: the case of female-founders

Valuations of venture backed companies and the number of unicorns are rising based on the leading nationwide surveys, but closer examination of the data reveals not all startups are seeing the effect. The median valuation for female-founded companies, for example, was lower in 2017 (approximately $11 million) than it was in 2007 (approximately $15 million), according to research from PitchBook’s Dana Olson. In comparison, the median valuation for male-founded startups has increased by approximately $8 million between 2007 (approximately $21 million) and 2017 (approximately $29 million). Olson also found that, across all industries, a much higher percentage of VC-backed, male-founded companies (35 percent) received at least one round of follow-on funding than female-founded companies (2 percent). With regard to exits, male-founded startups are acquired more than 11 percent of the time, while less than 0.5 percent of female-founded startups ever reach the same milestone. Male-founded companies also have a higher rate of IPO (nearly 1.7 percent) than female-founded startups (less than 1 percent).


Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 7: LA, NH, NJ

The last of the governors’ state of the state addresses for this year have been delivered, and New Jersey’s governor presented his first budget address. SSTI has continued to review the addresses for news on TBED initiatives and presents excerpts of their addresses concerning such initiatives below. Louisiana’s governor is focused on addressing a fiscal cliff while preserving education gains in the state. New Jersey’s governor laid out a vision embracing green energy in the state and growing high school STEM-focused programs.

New index highlights digital divide across US counties

Between 2010 and 2015, job and establishment growth was substantially lower in U.S. counties where broadband is less available and technologies are less likely to be adopted, according to new research from the Purdue Center for Regional Development. To measure county-level digital divide, authors from the center developed the Digital Divide Index (DDI), which factors in demographics, jobs, and other establishment trends in the U.S.

Before they were giants, federal S&T policy helped build Qualcomm and Broadcom

Citing national security concerns, the Trump administration made headlines this week when they ordered that chipmaker Broadcom stop pursuing its $117 billion bid for its largest competitor, Qualcomm. While the current role of the federal government has captured attention, it is worth noting the contributions of federal and higher ed technology commercialization policies– themselves innovative at the time – to both companies’ origins: Qualcomm’s roots trace back to an SBIR award, while Broadcom is the result of a UCLA spinoff and generous entrepreneurial leave granted by the institution.

GAO says R&D investment key to future competitiveness of country

The Government Accountability Office identified eight trends having strong effects on both the federal government and society as a whole, and those included in the science and tech section of the report are suggested to be critical to the country’s competitiveness. The trends are part of the larger 2018-2023 strategic plan for the office, whose mission is to ensure that Congress is aware and informed, and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government. The trends analysis outlines the current situation, key uncertainties and implications of each trend. In the area of science and technology, the GAO identified five emerging technologies that may transform society: genome editing; artificial intelligence and automation; quantum information science; brain/augmented reality; and cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Commerce sets new, hands-off direction for department

In a shift from its past economic development efforts, the U.S. Department of Commerce FY2018-2023 strategic plan would move the department to focus almost exclusively on being a commercial services entity. The plan’s points of emphasis are on streamlined permitting and regulations, with direct government activity primarily reserved for common good services — e.g., economic data, cybersecurity and IP protection.