Featured at RAISE

NVCA + Venture Forward: Promoting an Inclusive Community to Fuel the Economy of Tomorrow

September 10, 2021

RAISE Global is proud to partner with National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and Venture Forward to empower emerging managers, diversify the venture community, and catalyze the next generation of great companies. The RAISE Editorial team recently interviewed Bobby Franklin, President & CEO of NVCA, and Maryam Haque, Executive Director of Venture Forward, to learn more about their respective initiatives. 

RAISE: What is NVCA, and what role does it play in the startup ecosystem?

Bobby: The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) has played a pivotal role in the venture ecosystem since it was founded nearly 50 years ago in the early days of modern VC. Since then, NVCA has served as the voice of the U.S. venture capital and startup community, advocating for public policy that supports the U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystem. In recent years, our industry has become more front and center among policymakers in Washington. We focus on key policy issues to strengthen the startup ecosystem: taxes, immigration, capital markets and regulation, and foreign investment. We are a membership-driven nonprofit organization supported by a diverse range of VC firms across investment stages, fund sizes, industry sectors, and geographies. The VC industry has had a big impact on our economy and innovation over the past 50 years. Our mission is to empower the next generation of American companies that will fuel the economy of tomorrow. 

RAISE: Why did NVCA launch Venture Forward last year, and what does Venture Forward focus on?

Bobby: The industry’s public policy needs have grown and gotten more complex in recent years. At the same time, NVCA was increasingly being asked to address a host of needs beyond policy that have emerged as the venture industry has matured and evolved. These needs include addressing the lack of diversity and inclusion and removing barriers to accessing VC education, resources, and networks. Having a complementary but separate organization with the mission, leadership, and resources to focus solely on investing in the health of the industry ensures a long-term, sustainable approach to addressing these critical areas. NVCA publicly launched Venture Forward as its 501(c)(3) supporting nonprofit in June 2020 to drive the human capital, culture, values, and narrative of venture capital to promote a strong and inclusive community that will fuel the economy of tomorrow.

Maryam: Venture Forward is focused on shaping the future of venture capital by providing programming, education, data and research, and resources that empower the ecosystem’s ability to thrive. Our work revolves around four key areas:

  • DEI: Advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive ecosystem (e.g., LP Office Hours)
  • Education: Educating a new generation of VC investors and equipping them with the tools to succeed, and informing the general public about the role of VC in the U.S. economy (e.g., VC University)
  • Research & Data: Conducting and sharing meaningful research on VC trends and impact (e.g., VC Human Capital Survey)
  • History: Capturing the rich history of VC and distilling insights to shape the future (partnership with the Computer History Museum)

RAISE: How do NVCA and Venture Forward work together to support the VC industry?  

Bobby: Operating as one team supporting two organizations, NVCA and Venture Forward collaborate to address a wide range of important industry issues and provide programming, all under the mandate to nurture a thriving, inclusive venture capital industry in the U.S., now and in the future. Having two organizations allows us to expand the capacity of each to focus on its specific missions. Venture Forward focuses its full attention on the efforts Maryam outlined above that support the internal wellbeing of the VC community, while NVCA continues to focus its full attention on shaping public policy that is critical to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. By structurally separating the advocacy and industry advancement efforts, NVCA and Venture Forward are both better equipped to meet the needs of the venture community. 

RAISE: Why and how are NVCA and Venture Forward supporting the RAISE community?   

Maryam: Emerging managers are incredibly important to the venture industry. It is through these new entrants that the industry grows and evolves. Emerging managers bring new diversity, not only in terms of those from underrepresented backgrounds but also in terms of geography, professional experience, investment thesis, etc., and fund a new set of pioneering companies, often at the earliest stages. Supporting emerging managers all the way from when they’re considering raising a fund to when they’re raising fund 1-2 and then hopefully going on to raise fund 3+ are central to Venture Forward’s mission, since emerging managers are fundamental to the future of our industry.  Some examples of Venture Forward programming targeted to emerging managers:

  • VC University ONLINE - An online certificate course on venture finance. This educational program is self-paced with access to 20+ hours of content on VC, virtual live office hours, webinars, and an alumni network. 1,400+ have participated including 222 scholarship awardees across 8 cohorts to date.
  • LP Office Hours - Half-day workshops that connect emerging managers from historically underrepresented groups with LPs, experienced GPs, industry advisors, and each other. 125+ emerging managers have participated across 5 programs (4 in-person across the country + 1 virtual) to date.
  • Comms 101 & 201 Training Program - A series of workshops covering brand building and media training for early and mid-career VC investors from underrepresented backgrounds.

We also just released our first Impact Report highlighting additional programs, as well as the VC Human Capital Survey we conduct every two years to track and measure the VC industry’s progress on DEI.

Bobby: Emerging managers are also core to NVCA’s advocacy efforts since policymakers and regulators can overlook the unintended consequences policy can have on this segment of the VC market, where the impact may be worse/different compared with larger and more established firms. For example, changes to how carried interest capital gains are taxed will likely have a much bigger impact on a smaller, emerging manager than a firm with $1B+ AUM investing out of fund 10. But all of the public policy issues NVCA’s advocates for (e.g., tax, immigration, basic research/tech transfer, etc.) impact emerging managers, not just the larger and most established firms.

In addition to advocacy, NVCA also supports emerging managers and the broader VC community through free resources like the NVCA Yearbook, PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, and Model Legal Documents).

RAISE: What are some of the issues emerging managers (and LPs?) are facing?  

Maryam: Raising capital, LP relationships, deploying capital, and managing a portfolio are always top of mind for emerging managers, but important aspects to fund management (e.g., back office, operations, finance, etc.) are also areas where we’re seeing more interest in education and resources. The pandemic has shed light on new issues and exacerbated challenges emerging managers have always faced. For example, building a network and establishing new relationships, whether with LPs, other investors, or companies, has been tough in a virtual world. 

Similarly, most LPs gravitate toward known relationships and established funds when making commitment decisions. In addition, the bull market in the VC industry has continued and even accelerated through the pandemic, making deals even more competitive. For newer managers looking to develop their track record, this can prove challenging. And lastly, emerging managers from underrepresented backgrounds often feel the challenges around access to capital and building LP relationships more acutely, making programs and opportunities like RAISE or LP Office Hours even more beneficial to serving the emerging manager ecosystem.

RAISE: What are a few significant public policy issues that should be top of mind for emerging managers? 


  • Carried interest taxation - The infrastructure spending packages being debated in Washington right now may include significant tax increases on long-term capital gains. Increasing capital gains rates will reduce long-term investment and entrepreneurship by making short-term economic activity relatively more attractive. Emerging managers often make very little in salary during the early years of their funds (as management fees can be minimal), instead motivated by earning significant pay outs in carried interest farther along in the lifecycles of their funds. Higher taxes on carry would reduce the incentive to be in venture investing, especially for small funds.
  • State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) – Recently reinstated in Q1 2021, SSBCI provides capital to small businesses and startups in underrepresented regions and communities and can be used either for debt or equity investment programs. Emerging managers outside of major VC hubs stand to benefit.
  • Pending antitrust legislation impacting M&A - Congress is increasing scrutiny on large technology platforms, including considering how our nation’s antitrust laws can be changed to address the power of these companies. One proposed solution is restricting or forbidding acquisitions of smaller companies, which would hurt VC-backed companies due to the importance of acquisitions to the startup ecosystem. If it becomes more difficult for a startup to be acquired, this is one less path to exit for the portfolio companies of emerging managers. 
  • Endless Frontier Act – This legislation renews the government’s commitment to funding federal basic research. It leverages public-private partnerships to provide increased investment in early research, education, training, facilities, and entrepreneurship to support the U.S. leadership position in key emerging technologies. Without this funding and support, emerging managers across the country will find fewer opportunities to invest in promising innovation.

RAISE: How can the RAISE community get involved with NVCA and Venture Forward?  

Bobby: All emerging managers are encouraged to become NVCA members to support our public policy work advocating for VCs and entrepreneurs. NVCA members also benefit from access to differentiated, career catalyzing education and advancement programs, unparalleled community and networking opportunities, and exclusive, industry-leading research and analysis. Learn more about what it means to be an NVCA member here.

Maryam: All emerging managers are also invited to participate in Venture Forward’s programs and initiatives to further their professional development; build relationships with LPs, peers, and industry leaders; and access resources that will be useful in building a successful career in VC. Get involved with Venture Forward’s programs and initiatives by signing up for communications or contacting hello@ventureforward.org

Interested in attending the RAISE Global Summit? Request an invitation here.



The Tipping Point Series (“Tipping Point”) is a collection of interviews with fund managers who (a) have previously raised a venture capital fund and (b) are providing advice and insights into the formation and management of venture capital funds (the “Presentations”).  Tipping Point is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security issued by any venture capital fund, including without limitation, any venture capital fund managed by Tipping Point’s speakers, presenters, or producers. 

The Presentations do not (a) provide investment advice with respect to any security or (b) make any claim as to the past, current, or future performance of any security or venture capital fund, and Tipping Point expressly disclaims the use of the Presentations for such purposes.  The Presentations are not intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, or other advice or an investment recommendation. Prospective fund managers should consult their own advisors about such matters with regard to their venture capital funds.  Raising a venture capital fund involves significant risk of loss of income and capital, including loss of the full amount raised and invested, which may occur as a result of identified or unidentified risks.

Tipping Point is produced by Raise Conferences, LLC (“Raise”).  Raise is a private invite-only venture capital conference, which provides a forum for venture capital funds to network with and present to potential venture capital investors.  Although Raise produces Tipping Point, the Presentations are independent of Raise’s conference and do not provide any forum for the Tipping Point speakers, presenters, or producers to solicit the sale of any securities. 

RAISE Editorial
The RAISE editorial team includes on-staff writers and researchers from RAISE Global.

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