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Mark Heesen

President, National Venture Capital Association

Mark Heesen invited Intellirights in to discuss the venture capital landscape during these tough economic times. Companies that received their start with venture capital dollars include: Genentech, Amgen, Intel, Cisco, Google, Medtronic, Microsoft, and eBay. NVCA represents member companies that cover an array of technological areas—life sciences, biotechnology, information technology, medical devices, and others. Heesen talked about providing the economic stability to allow the next Genentech, Google, or Intel to grow. He was clear in pointing out that venture capitalists are still ready to invest in new technologies and new industries, but that President Obama and the Congress need to focus on jobs to keep these emerging companies moving forward and America growing.

NVCA’s Kelly Slone shared her insights on patent reform. She stressed that venture capitalists are willing to bear the risk of investing in small start-ups, but that they want to have confidence in the patents upon which many of these companies are based. Slone said that the main point of contention that the NVCA has with the current legislation is that it would allow virtually endless challenges to issued patents, thus placing patents in limbo and undermining investor confidence.  Any reform that is enacted by the 111th Congress should instill certainty and predictability in issued patents, Slone insisted.

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