Jan 18, 2017

Venture capital's top lobbyist talks Trump and taxes

Bobby Franklin is president and CEO of the National Venture Capital Association, a D.C.-based lobbying group whose members comprise a majority of the country's VC and growth equity firms. He recently spoke to Axios about issues of interest to startup investors, including immigration, healthcare and taxes:

On legal immigration reform:

"I'm not as optimistic as I was before Trump's election. In fact, I'm more skeptical. The issue for years has been that Democrats insist on a comprehensive policy that deals with both legal and illegal immigration, which basically holds legal immigration hostage to Republicans, who want to first focus on illegal and then maybe get to legal. Now I think both sides have even more reason to hold on to their positions, even though we do have our champions on both sides of the aisle. I guess that makes me a contrarian."

On Obamacare:

"I haven't heard from our members on if they want us to engage of repeal or replacement. They're much more concerned about issues like the FDA and reimbursement."

On taxation:

"When I watched the debates it seemed like the only policy issue Clinton and Trump even mentioned was changing carried interest. But they were talking about it in the context of Hillary's fat cat friends on Wall Street, so I don't think it was aimed at VCs. I think we have very good arguments for why carry shouldn't be changed for venture. There are a lot of people in this country who feel left behind, and changing tax treatment will make it more difficult for companies in those areas to get funded."

On Trump tech meeting:

"I'm glad we weren't at that table. And I really mean that we weren't, in the more general sense, because there are increasing policy differences between established tech companies and startups, on issues like patents and stock options. A lot of what mattered to the people there isn't what matters to us."

Go deeper