How Should The NVCA Change Under Its New Leadership?

The National Venture Capital Association this week named a new president after sifting through more than 100 resumes during a roughly three-month executive search.

So what new course will the appointee, Bobby Franklin, chart for the association? We don’t yet know since the NVCA says Franklin is not granting interviews until he takes over in September.

But that shouldn’t stop you, our readers, from offering your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below. I will start off the discussion with a suggestion of my own.

But first, some background on the new pres.

Franklin is no stranger to technology or Washington, D.C. He comes to the NVCA from the CTIA, a trade association for the wireless communications industry, where he is an executive vice president. He was head of ALLTEL’s Washington office before that and earlier in his career worked in the office of Senator David Pryor (D-AR).

Franklin however is a newbie to venture capital. He will face some on-the-job training when he takes over in September.

Nonetheless, in an interview this week retiring President Mark Heesen suggested that Franklin already has his own vision for the association and a new path for it to follow. He was one of 11 finalists chosen by a search committee of Josh Green, chairman of the NVCA and a Mohr Davidow Ventures general partner; Ray Rothrock, a partner at Venrock and a former NVCA chairman; Tom Crotty, a senior advisor at Battery Ventures; and Jon Callaghan, a co-founder of True Ventures. So he has impressed some top industry leaders.

Still, finding a new course is an interactive process that includes listening to association members and others involved with the industry. So do Franklin a favor and offer your suggestions in the comments section below.

Here is mine:

Broaden the investor base for venture-backed IPOs. Do this by encouraging underwriters to permit greater retail participation in the initial trading of new issues. Crowdfunding is proof individual investors want to be involved with young companies. Yet few retail investors get their hands on newly issued stock until it has traded several times. The NVCA should encourage underwriter syndicates to include retail oriented firms, such as E*Trade. It is hard to forget how well early investors did with Microsoft more than 20 years ago.

 Photo of Bobby Franklin from the CTIA Website.


  • One of the big issues right now is that the NVCA has a smaller membership base than it did a few years ago, just as the industry is contracting. We see a number of angel investors, many of whom have become more institutionalized in recent years. I’d like to see the NVCA broaden its base to represent more of the seed stage stream of investors.

    • Shrinking membership not just related to overall industry contraction. Also reflective of several new firms intentionally not joining because they disagree with certain priorities (or are freeloading, depending on your POV).

    • The problem with the NVCA is that it refuses to face reality. More than 99.4% of venture firms do not produce venture style returns on a consistent basis, and even if they do, they fail to produce social economic value the public cares about. I don’t think the handful of VCs that do produce value need an association filled with walking dead to weigh them down.

  • The NVCA should launch a campaign to explain to the seed-stage and angel investors exactly what it does. Hate to use the “v” word, but I don’t think some newer VCs fully appreciate the value that the NVCA provides, particularly as it relates to lobbying in D.C.

  • A terrible hire. Horrible.

    1. Absolutely no venture experience
    2. No credibility at highest levels with Washington
    3. No understanding of the venture market beyond the basics
    4. No credibility with venture firms, Limited Partners or the companies they fund

    Nice job, guys. You went and found another weak association wonk on the beltway.

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