Start ups and Silicon Valley companies from Personal to
Spokeo discussed issues from innovation and competitiveness to cybersecurity
and privacy at the Tech Policy Summit in Napa Wednesday.
Nnena Ukuku, co-founder and CEO of Black Founders StartUp
Ventures, said it was unfortunate that provisions that would have benefited
start up companies were removed from the Jobs Act. Vivek Wadhwa of Singularity
University said the single best thing Washington could do before the election
would be to pass the StartUp Act.
Robert Leshner, co-founder and CEO of Safe Shepherd said
managing a start up is like driving a Ferrari with low fuel through the fog. He
said it’s impossible to focus on anything else – like tech policy problems in
If he could lobby effectively in Washington as a small
company, he said a focus would be patent reform. “Patents are no longer tools
for innovation for start ups,” Leshner said. “Patents and copyrights are only
used aggressively against start ups.”
Washington tech policy experts discussed the need for start
ups to do more to communicate with members of Congress so they better
understand the issues start ups really face. But Wadhwa said they simply don’t
have time – they’re busy innovating.
During a question and answer session a representative from a
startup said he understands why his colleagues feel like Washington politicians
are just wanting political donations. But they still need to engage with
Washington politicians so that they understand what startups are doing and how many
jobs are being created.
Another entrepreneur agreed Washington still needs to hear
“We just need to get our story out to policymakers,” said
Mike Sax of Asigo.