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Innovation proposals in Biden's COVID plan would provide emergency, long-term assistance

Last week, the incoming Biden administration announced an “American Rescue Plan” to address immediate health and economic threats from COVID-19. On the economic side, the plan goes further than immediate relief and begins to address some longer-term strength and resilience concerns. Among other provisions, it would provide $35 billion for a new business finance program that support venture capital, $350 billion for state and local governments to help address budget shortfalls, $35 billion for higher education and $3 billion for the Economic Development Administration.

Women and VC: Despite some progress, women-founded and -led companies hit harder by 2020 pandemic

While venture capital (VC) deal activity by women-(co)founded and women-led companies has increased over the last 15 years by some metrics, a new report indicates that the 2020 pandemic and global recession impacted these companies more than companies founded and led by men. In the second edition of its annual All In Report, PitchBook expands on its efforts to shed light on the dynamics of women’s participation in the VC market. While participation in the VC market was impacted for companies founded and led by men and women in 2020, the report highlights the impact on women-founded and -led companies by showing recent declines in nearly every measure used in the report compared to nearly constant pre-pandemic trends in increased deal count, deal value, company valuation, and exit rates by women-founded and -led companies.

Key Biden nominees have background in economic development initiatives

President Joe Biden’s nominees to economic and energy roles have experience with regional growth initiatives. Readers of the Digest may be familiar with some of the names, as we have covered their activities in their previous roles. The nominees of the president’s economic team include former Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, nominated to lead the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Don Graves as deputy secretary; Isabel Guzman nominated to become administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA); former Michigan Gov.

$2M in STEM Challenge Grants awarded

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced the seven recipients of the inaugural STEM Talent Challenge, awarding a total of $2 million in grants through the inaugural STEM Talent Challenge, which aims to boost local science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent.

SBA announces first L2M winners, Tibbetts Awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the winners of two award programs. The Lab to Market (L2M) competition was launched in September and recognizes organizations, programs and ideas that support R&D innovation ecosytems, particularly those focused on underrepresented communities and pandemic responses. SBA also announced recipients of the annual Tibbetts Awards, which recognizes companies, organizations, and individuals for exceptional success achieved through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Useful stats: Later-stage VC has a banner year, uncertainty about early stages

Deals raising at least $50 million grew by nearly one-quarter in 2020, driving an additional $18 billion in deal value to a new record of $156 billion invested. This data, from the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, suggests that the total venture capital market will see a slight decline in investment deals overall from 2020.[1] This slip in deal activity is driven by what is currently an 11 percent decline in seed or angel deals and a 20 percent decline in early venture capital deals.

Biden names science advisor, makes position cabinet level

President Joe Biden has named geneticist Eric Lander the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the president’s science advisor. Biden also promoted the science advisor role to a cabinet-level position, becoming the first president to do so, stating that, “science will always be at the forefront of my administration.”