Monday, August 31, 2009

Smith's Tech Town Hall

Cong. Adam Smith today faced a baker's dozen of tech industry entrepreneurs and advocates for one of his back-home town hall meetings sited at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber offices.

Smith, always and continuing as both a knowledgeable tech supporter and a consistent tech supporter, was able to speak directly to tech issues both in his initial remarks and in response to the queries from attendees.

Here, as seemingly everywhere, health care reform entered the conversation. But, tech issues predominated the discussion. When asked about his insights from serving in the House intelligence oversight and forthcoming opportunities, Smith replied that both "yes" there are opportunities and "no" he couldn't tell us what they are. But, he did give a serious response in that he identified two areas of special opportunity and funding availability: energy and medical. Attendees were referred to DARPA and Battelle/Pacific NW National Lab for research that is available for commercialization.

Another topic of special interest was the question of funding availability in the tech industry. Others noted that Washington does well in attracting VC, but there is a growing area of concern about angel investing. With the wealth reduction that has occurred with the Great Recession, where many individuals have also seen their portfolio value decline dramatically, the willingness of angel investors to invest - and the ability of ventures to attract angel funds has suffered.

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