SSTI Digest

Geography: California

2014 Bills Tackle Crowdfunding, Tax Credits, Startup Capital and More

Several bills aimed at supporting startups, advancing research and improving the workforce have been introduced with the start of the 2014 sessions. Some of the proposed legislation offers a glimpse into the investment priorities of governors and lawmakers in the wake of economic recovery. Providing innovative companies with access to startup funds is a continued theme from previous years. Some states are seeking to expand tax credits for angel investors or offer new tax credits to encourage emerging industries. Other bills focus on generating more skilled workers quickly and positioning universities to enhance regional economic competitiveness.

Useful Stats: U.S. Venture Capital Per Capita and Share of National Total by State, 2008-13

After hitting an all-time high in 2012, California’s dominance of the nation’s venture capital activity receded a bit last year. California continues to receive about half of the country’s venture investment dollars and about 40 percent of its dealflow, but in 2013, the state’s share of dollars fell from 53 to 50 percent, according to data from the PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association (PwC/NVCA) Moneytree survey. Massachusetts, which has been host to about 10 percent of national venture activity in past years, also saw its share of total U.S. activity decline. Gains in second tier venture capital states appear to account for the shift, including upticks in Florida, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia. Massachusetts continue to lead the country in terms of dollars and deals per capita, though for the first time that lead was threatened by the rise of Washington, D.C., as a venture capital hotspot.

CA Cluster Support Expands with Four New Innovation Hubs

The California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development is preparing to launch four new Innovation Hubs (iHubs) across the state. iHubs, strategically placed within existing clusters, serve as centers of collaboration for regional economic development agencies, venture capitalists, incubators, and higher education to develop joint programming for entrepreneurship (see the September 4 issue). The program is supported by public, private and federal funding and, with the recent expansion, now hosts 16 centers across California. Three of the new hubs will serve specific regions, including the San Joaquin Area, Kern and Ventura Counties and Inland Southern California. The fourth hub will offer a statewide network of manufacturing support. Read more...

Governments Benefiting from Tech Entrepreneurs: The Tables Have Turned

The field of technology-based economic development strives to provide opportunities and support for budding entrepreneurs and technology-based startups in hopes of strengthening our economies. But, policymakers and governments have much to gain directly from the pool of talented tech entrepreneurs. Technology startups are tapping into the $142 billion public sector market and are helping governments reduce costs and improve their services through innovative web applications and, in some cases, total system overhauls.  Late last week, the city of San Francisco launched an Entrepreneurship-In-Residence program for the city in partnership with the White House, the first of its kind.

New Initiative Trains Engineers as Entrepreneurs to Support Regional Innovation

The Stanford Technology Ventures Program has launched a new program for Ph.D. students that provides training in entrepreneurship and innovation. But unlike other entrepreneurship programs the Accel Innovation Scholars Program takes a holistic approach, training students to prepare for roles that support regional innovation ecosystems.

CA Legislature Approves Expansion of iHub Program

New legislation passed by the California legislature would expand the state’s Innovation Hub (iHub) program, which supports commercialization and entrepreneurship at a regional level. The program initially was launched in March 2010 through the state’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. Under the new bill, administration of the current 12 iHubs and any future hubs would formally be moved to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, which has informally overseen the project in more recent years. The updated legislation also allows the office to issue proposals to designate new hubs, including hubs that would overlap current hubs as long as they have a distinct focus on separate industry sectors. A new state treasury account also would allow the iHubs program to collect funds from private sources. Governor Jerry Brown now has 30 days to sign or veto the bill. Read the legislation...

New APRA-E Program Awards $36M for Electric Vehicle Development

Electric vehicles may be gaining momentum. In 2013, Tesla has outsold other luxury car makers in California and received high safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  To help support this growing industry, ARPA-E has granted a total of $36 million to 22 projects at national laboratories, universities, and private companies around the country as part of its new Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Story Systems (RANGE) program. RANGE will work to harness this network of research to improve electric vehicle energy storage systems, therefore increasing driving range, through new chemistry and design. The universities receiving funding are: Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Penn State University, Princeton University, Purdue University, Stanford University, UCLA, University of California-San Diego, University of Houston, and University of Maryland. Of the 22 projects, eight are at private entities, such as GE and BASF. Read the announcement...

CA Universities Increase Online Learning Opportunities; Controversial Bill Held for 2014

With additional funding directed to higher education as part of the FY14 budget, the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems announced efforts to boost access to online courses for current full-time students this fall. The goal is to overcome space shortages in classrooms and help graduate more students on time. Meanwhile, a bill that would require the state’s colleges and universities to grant credit for online courses taken through for-profit groups, including providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs), is considered dead in the legislature for now. The bill’s main backer, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he is waiting to see the results of the new online efforts by the state’s public higher education systems before moving forward, reports Inside Higher Ed.

L.A. Follows Trend of Harbor Redevelopment with $155m Tech Cluster Project

The city of Los Angeles is working with a consortium of public and private partners to redevelop unused docklands into space that will support new industry cluster development. The project highlights a trend of high-profile projects across the country, with cities like Brooklyn and Philadelphia repurposing dockside warehouse space to seed tech startups and advanced manufacturing.

R&D Tax Credits in Many States Seek to Help Business Development, Innovation

A number of states recently have taken action to expand R&D tax credits and other legislation that would support innovation, commercialization and manufacturing. Hawaii, California, Maryland, Texas, and Florida have signed into law tax incentives and R&D tax credits and an R&D tax credit in New Hampshire went into effect.  The Maine legislature also passed a capital tax credit that will begin in 2014.

SSTI Examines Trends in Innovation Policy from the State Legislatures

As many state legislative sessions wind down, a clearer picture of the current direction of state innovation policies is emerging. This week’s SSTI Weekly Digest presents a few of the major trends in technology-based economic development initiatives approved by state legislatures during their most recent sessions. While this review is not meant to be comprehensive, it should illuminate the shifts states are making to refine their investments in the high-tech economy by providing smarter, more targeted support.

CA, NC Govs Propose Bold Reforms to State Economic Development Efforts

Avoiding redundancy and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of outdated programs are some of the major goals for governors in California and North Carolina seeking a new approach to job creation. Both proposals involve an overhaul to established economic development efforts.