It's the issue that just won't go away. Eligibility for SBIR awards for VC controlled companies.
Will somebody please tell me why companies that now have received millions of dollars of outside investment would even care about grabbing a relatively few thousand dollars of grants intended for startups.
Reminds me of the rich bully on the playground stealing lunch money from the weaker and poorer kids.
The Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) sent out an appeal to its membership yesterday. I'm going to provide it verbatim:
Sign on to the NIH Letter Today!
During a recent hearing SBTC Executive Director Jere Glover testified before the Technology and Innovation Subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Science and Technology Committee. Glover documented the success of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, which is due for renewal by Congress.
During the hearing Chairman David Wu (D-Ore.) suggested a compromise that would allow National Institute of Health (NIH) applicants to be exempt from affiliation rules preventing large venture capital (VC) owned companies from participating in the SBIR program, while keeping the restrictions in place for all other agencies. Glover objected to this compromise, pointing out that many small biotech companies oppose VC involvement in the SBIR, including those in the SBTC membership.
In response to this, an SBTC NIH member has drafted a letter to send to Rep. Wu urging him not to allow VC owned companies unrestricted access to the SBIR program. SBTC would like as many biotech and medical device firms as possible to sign on to this letter to show Wu that opposition to VC involvement in this program is not just limited to Department of Defense (DoD) awardees.
If you are a NIH awardee and would like your name on this letter, please send an email to Alec Orban.
Take Action Today!
View the NIH Letter
View Jere Glovers Testimony
Sign on to the NIH Letter
OK, here's your chance to voice your opinion. If you're a "biotech or medical device" company and wish to sign onto the letter, click the links above and do so.
If you have a good reason that you don't want to sign the letter (other than not wanting to stick your neck out), please use the Comments feature on this Blog and tell me your reasoning. I really want to understand the underlying thinking here.
My position on the VC issue is well documented. I am opposed to changing the eligibility rules. However, I'm a realist. If we must compromise on this in order to get SBIR reauthorized, than so be it. But let's do it smart and not fundamentally change the program.
So, convince me it's a good idea to broaden SBIR eligibility. Even selectively.
And please cut the crap about having had eligibility "taken away". We all know that really isn't true.