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: [email protected] .
Updated 05/22/0499 messages
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Kevin C Sprouse Columbia, MO
Msg 91 of 99
The idea behind the initial program was for the small company to be given a little help to remain competitive in an environment that is always changing. If a program is needed for the VC owned firms then put them in a separate category, competing against comparable firms.
Vote:   NO 
Name withheld by request Hondo, TX
Msg 92 of 99
I never believed that America was doomed to be a "rich get richer" country, but the way that things are going, I don't think that anyone else can succeed. Let's not stack the deck in favor of the powerful elite. It will only ensure mediocrity.
Vote:   NO 
Aneta Newton Shawnee, OK
Msg 93 of 99

Vote:   NO 
Milt Friedman Alameda, CA
Msg 94 of 99
As one who has been a leader in both small VC-funded and non-VC-funded companies and now as a grant writer and consultant for both ([email protected]), I have found that the SBIR program functions well to foster innovative R&D in both. Scientists in VC-funded companies are often under extreme pressure to meet investor-set goals and often don't have the freedom of thought to explore new ground. I'd like to see some data on how much SBIR money goes to this category of company. My guess is that it is small and that VC-funded companies don't have any advantage more than the fact that they have already passed a pretty rigorous selection process for quality of thought.
Vote:   YES 
R.W. Philadelphia, PA
Msg 95 of 99
The question strikes me as biased from the start ("large VC organizations"). Not all VC firms have hundreds of millions of dollars under management. Indeed, most seed-stage firms have far fewer resources. I see many scenarios where small biotech companies are owned less than 51% by individuals. For example, equity held by university tech transfer, by seed investor and perhaps other entities contributing technology can leave the scientists with less than 51%. They are clearly doing the type of research for which the SBIR program was designed.

Just because a VC firm is in the picture does not equate to unlimited resources at the company's disposal. I can imagine a workable look-through type solution (similar to how some agencies treat the public company shareholder). Other issues of perceived abuse could be carefully provided for.

Vote:   YES 
Dr. Colin Brenan Marblehead, MA
Msg 96 of 99
BioTrove is a 35 person, VC-funded biotechnology company backed by four small to mid-sized venture capital firms. Our senior management team is a mix of founders and individuals hired by the founding team. Many of the founding individuals still have oversight and responsibility for day-to-day operations and setting the company's future direction despite the fact the company is owned 51% by venture capital firms.

I find surprising the SBA claim that VC-backed companies would somehow have an advantage or bias the chances for non-VC backed companies in obtaining SBIR funding. My experience is that VC funding is typically applied towards product development and building the commercial side of an organization, not, as is the mandate of the SBIR program, to fund high risk, exploratory R&D that might result in a product.

For BioTrove, not having access to SBIR funds puts us at a distinct disadvantage relative to other small, high technology companies because we can not leverage all possible sources of non-dilutive capital for development of high risk, high reward products -thus hampering or delaying introduction of disruptive yet highly beneficial technologies into the US economy.

Vote:   YES 
Name withheld by request Charlottesville, VA
Msg 97 of 99
This would seriously undermine the original intent of the SBIR program, namely to give small business an opportunity to compete for federal research money that in the past has been primarily available only to large businesses with existing federal contracts. Under the proposed change small businesses would be competing with companies that may be small in size but because of the VC resources are equivalent to much larger and better-funded businesses.
Vote:   NO 
W. Louise Warren, Ph.D., ABAP Los Angeles, CA
Msg 98 of 99

Vote:   NO 
Mohan Rockville, MD
Msg 99 of 99
First and foremost the SBIR grants should be judged on scientific and technical merit to foster innovation and should not exclude any small business. Restricting VC funded small businesses is the biggest mistake. If you have a good idea and plan you should be able to obtain grant money. VC funded money is primarily used to develop products and SBIR money for any innovation.
Vote:   YES 
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updated 05/22/04
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