SBIR Gateway VC Discussion Group
(Archived May 2004)
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The comments below are the views of submitter and do not necessarily reflect that of Zyn Systems or the SBIR Gateway. Please address your questions to: info@zyn.com .
Updated 05/22/0499 messages
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12/10/03
  12:48:16
Dr. Gary Archamboult Madison, SD
Msg 71 of 99
If the VC organization does not qualify as a small business under SBA guidelines; American owned, for- profit, fewer than 500 employees, and less than $50 million in revenues they should not be allowed to compete for funds restricted to small businesses.
Vote:   NO 
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12/10/03
  13:04:12
A. Metzger, PhD St. Paul, MN
Msg 72 of 99
Isn't the real goal of this program to improve the quality of life of everyone through the development of new technologies? As long as a project results in even the slightest scientific advancement, it shouldn't matter whether the company is funded by venture capitalists.
Vote:   YES 
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12/10/03
  15:30:45
Gretchen Unger, Ph.D. Chaska, MN
Msg 73 of 99
Very simply, SBIR funding is the only funding that early startups have access to. Part of continual advancement is making sure the early pipeline is always being fed. Changing the rules 20 years into the program to benefit large biotech VC will starve innovation eventually. Very bad, short-sighted idea.
Vote:   NO 
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12/11/03
  01:25:19
David A. Sherman / President & CEO Salt Lake City, UT
Msg 74 of 99
As the President of a small Ut e-commerce business, I strongly oppose the proposed ammendment. The ammendment would essentially allow large institutions ; through their small business proxies, to compete against independent small businesses. This would reduce innovation, and make it more difficult for individual entrepeneurs to establish their small businesses and innovative technologies. It would also reduce the creation of jobs with small businesses.

David A. Sherman President CEO Imagestockhouse Inc.

Vote:   NO 
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12/11/03
  06:16:35
Name withheld by request Minneapolis, MN
Msg 75 of 99
Changing the rules would defeat the purpose of SBIR. If a project has enough appeal (feasibility and potential big payoff) that VC's have invested, then the project has obvious commercial value. SBIR funding should be reserved for those less obvious projects--excellent science, but a lower threshold of obvious commercial success.
Vote:   NO 
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12/11/03
  13:44:57
Patrick Guire, Chief Sci. Officer Eden Prairie, MN
Msg 76 of 99
SurModics, Inc. is a profitable small business of 160 employees which has brought numerous surface modification technologies to the medical device and diagnostics markets (e.g., PhotoLink and the first drug-eluting stent coating). Financial assistance is available to start-up SBIR-awardees thru not-for- profit business incubator programs and private angel investors, as well as financially strong Venture Capital firms. The latter should not be provided a stronger role in the SBIR program thru the proposed rule change; this would damage its entreprenurial strength.
Vote:   NO 
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12/12/03
  13:41:15
Ames, IA
Msg 77 of 99

Vote:   NO 
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12/17/03
  12:57:57
Debra Skeen Perret Winston-Salem, NC
Msg 78 of 99
Our company is a biopharmaceutical research and development firm devoted to creating new drugs for unmet medical needs for neurological, psychiatric, and gastrointestinal diseases. Our venture capital investors backed us in order for us to move our ALREADY DISCOVERED promising compounds through clinical trials and into the marketplace, a long and expensive process. Our reseachers have the knowledge,team experience, and facilities to keep making remarkable discoveries of new, promising compounds for unmet medical needs, particularly for diseases that affect the central nervous system, thus SBIR and STTR Phase I and Phase II grants are extremely important to us for that purpose. We have the ability to discover and commercialize products of use to humankind and respectfully request that VC- backed small businesses be eligible to compete for SBIR and STTR funding.
Vote:   YES 
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12/22/03
  12:58:11
Nicole Toomey Davis Draper, UT
Msg 79 of 99
I am a serial entrepreneur and an advisor to numerous small technology businesses (including one that just applied for an SBIR grant). You can access my bio at http://www.enclavix.com/nicole_toomey_davis.htm for more information on my background.

I would strongly urge you NOT to relax the ownership requirements for VC-backed firms. Only a small fraction of the small technology business in the U.S. are able to find venture financing. The SBIR program is an alternate source of funding for those businesses that are a) too early stage to receive venture funding b) in an area with an under-supply of venture capital (such as Utah, my home state) or c) simply not interested in giving up so much of their company to outsiders at an early stage.

Permitting VC-controlled companies to compete with companies that meet the existing SBIR qualifications does not improve the state of research (those VC-controlled companiess will still be there), but I believe that it will definitely hurt the variety and quantity of small businesses that are able to get past the "early stage" hurdle to become vibrant, large businesses. It will simply tilt the playing field more firmly in the direction of venture capital firms deciding the state and direction of our technology industries.

Please help our nation's small businesses by protecting the ONE program where small is better, and where small business can truly leverage creativity and human innovation to fund their growth and future opportunities.

Please feel free to contact me on this issue.


Vote:   NO 
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12/29/03
  09:16:48
Mark Heffernan Chevy Chase, MD
Msg 80 of 99
I see no reason to change the rules or the intent of the SBIR program to allow large VC and capital funds to participate in the SBIR program directly.

As one earlier commentator pointed out, "Contrary to the impression created (by the VC and BIO communities), the current SBIR eligibility rules do not exclude <50% VC-backed (as opposed to VC-owned and controlled) small businesses. These rules do, however, properly exclude those businesses that are majority owned and controlled by entities other than individuals, VC's included.

It should be the intent of the SBIR program to help bridge the gap between the needs of emerging technology companies and the availability of VC funding. The SBIR program should not, in effect, replace VC capital nor assume the risk that is appropriately associated with returns on VC investments.

Vote:   NO 
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