Idaho is the fastest-growing state in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Boise’s startup community is expanding at a comparable rate. This week, we spoke with Daniel Faricy who cites buy-in from local stakeholders across sectors as a key input for the Treasure Valley’s ecosystem. However, he believes policies that favor the mobility of talent and capital are essential to carrying this progress forward.
The Big Story: Zuckerberg hits the Hill. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on the Hill this week for back-to-back marathon hearings in front of lawmakers eager to press the company about its role in and response to Cambridge Analytica’s use of the data of tens of millions of Facebook users.
Internet service providers would like you to think there’s broad agreement on net neutrality because everyone agrees cable companies shouldn’t block or slow access to websites and online services. But mention the words “paid prioritization” and you’ll get a much different reaction. The issue is sure to divide the House Energy and Commerce Committee during its hearing on the topic next week.
Birmingham has evolved from its industrial past to become an emerging hub of software companies that will be a stop on the Rise of the Rest tour next month. This week we spoke to Devon Laney, who believes that community buy-in and a state tax credit program which spurred real estate development downtown contributed to the ecosystem’s growth. However, he adds that a state grant matching program could further develop Birmingham’s innovation economy.
Austin has rapidly transformed Central Texas into one of the world’s foremost technology and innovation regions. This week, we talked to Joshua Baer of Capital Factory, who cites the city’s community-minded entrepreneurs and the active involvement of the University of Texas as inputs to the ecosystem’s growth.
The “Treasure State” of Montana is rapidly becoming a trove of high-growth startups and innovators. This week, we talked to Paul Gladen of the Blackstone LaunchPad, a university entrepreneurial education program brought to Montana with the help of Senator Jon Tester. Paul believes an educational process that helps legislators understand the needs of the 21st century economy could accelerate startup growth nationwide, as was the case in Montana.
The Big Story: Congress passes funding bill with several tech provisions. Narrowly avoiding a government shutdown, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law this week a $1.3 trillion government funding bill that included a whole host of tech-related provisions.
Today, Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced a House version of the STRONGER Patents Act (S.1390), which would hobble the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s internal review system for challenges to overly broad, obvious patents and overrule decades of Supreme Court decisions on patent issues, exposing technology users to increased litigation.
The following can be attributed to Engine Executive Director Evan Engstrom:
"We applaud Sen. Wyden's work to address some of our concerns with this legislation. We all support efforts to stop sex trafficking, but it is important to do so in a way that doesn't create unintended consequences for smaller internet companies that feature user-generated content. Sen. Wyden's amendments would help clarify that companies honestly engaging in content moderation won't face unexpected or unfair liability. That would make it substantially easier for platforms to proactively contribute to the fight against sex trafficking without fear of negative consequences."
Despite its reputation as an “oil patch town”, Houston is home to a thriving and diverse startup ecosystem. This week, we learned from Brad Burke and Lawson Gow that Houston’s diversity, concentration of research institutions and active investors, and involved support from local government have been critical in making the city a startup hub.
A renewed sense of localism has bolstered support for Southern Louisiana's entrepreneurial ecosystem in the "large small town" of Baton Rouge. For this week's #StartupsEverywhere, we talked to Stephen Loy, who cites the city's steady flow of eager, educated university students and a statewide tradable tax credit program as key inputs.