Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Marc Andreesen: "...innovation slows down"

Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times has been covering the new venture by Marc Andreesen & Ben Horowitz. Today's installment includes the remarkable quote:
When companies are acquired quickly, innovation slows down, Mr. Andreessen said.
Isn't that what we've been arguing all along? Isn't that the linchpin in the case against a VC takeover of the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR)? Small, independently held businesses are the most innovative around!

SBIR represents the last great opportunity for seed funding. Even with the "secret plan" of Andreesen Horowitz (as Claire Cain Miller puts it), it is clear that the overwhelming majority of us will not benefit from their largess. Why? As her article from yesterday put it:
Almost all of the companies in which they invest will be in Silicon Valley, they said.
So, what's new about that? While I would heartily welcome the participation of Venture Capital in seeding promising ideas, taking a minority stake in companies and entrepreneurs proving out their ideas (pre-prototype, pre-growth), it seems unlikely that VCs will suddenly branch out from their tiny coastal enclaves, doling out largess to sponsor yet-unproven ideas.

In the meantime, SBIR remains the only game in town (that is, unless the leadership of the House Small Business Committee and House Science & Technology Committee succeeds in railroading through HR 2965 without amendment). That remains to be seen.

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