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Venture Capital… why Ala. doesn’t rank well

13 December 2007

The Birmingham Venture Club‘s 22nd Annual Meeting was held today at The Club‘s ballroom.  The invited keynote speaker, Mark Heesen, is the President of the National Venture Capital Association.  According to the Venture Club’s website… “As a spokesperson for the venture capital industry, Mark is often called upon by the financial media, NVCA members, limited partners, and regional associations to present the overarching venture capital perspective to a wider audience.  He is a frequent presenter at industry conferences, appears regularly on CNBC, and is consistently quoted in the press in stories concerning venture capital trends.”  And, in spite of that, there he was… visiting Birmingham like he has done in countless cities preceding today.

Before he dove into the national numbers for Venture Capital investments nationwide, he mentioned a caveat I wore out saying while at TechBirmingham.  Alabama doesn’t appear to do well on these national rankings.  This because he can only report that which is reported to him!  If the quarterly surveys are not returned, as our VCs are prone to do, to the NVCA and its partners in the rankings, then we are to blame [my words, not his].  I’m a vocal advocate for reporting to any national ranking.  This region seemingly has historically avoided rankings because we have been prone to appearing at the bottom of the good lists and the top of the bad ones.  This is not always true, once the researchers bother to come to Birmingham (or Alabama as a whole) and actually look into the conditions here!

So, my plea to the Venture Capitalists is to REPORT your numbers on the next survey.  We need credit for 100% of your investments, not 30-60% (my guess).  Things really are quite good here.  If, of course, you’re willing for that simple fact to be known.

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