Editor’s Note, from Elizabeth: Here’s a story I’m following: Andreessen Horowitz, one of the biggest Silicon Valley venture funds, is undertaking a well-financed lobbying campaign to influence international regulations on digital currencies. This is a much bigger deal than it sounds. Digital currencies, cryptocurrencies or “crypto” are having deep effects across finance. Bitcoin, for instance, is turning into an alternative asset class – you could think of it like gold, essentially untethered from any measure of productivity and thus very volatile. Blockchain technology has the potential to affect how transactions are cleared – this is the hidden, powerful work in the middle of the financial system. And cryptocurrencies like Ethereum are resulting in innovation in consumer finance, like the ability to do cross-border transactions without the cost that comes with national currency. Sorry if I’m sounding in the weeds! The important thing to know is this is revolutionary technology. The question that regulators are grappling with is how to achieve the promise of digital currency to democratize finance and increase access for people around the world, while protecting the system from corruption and manipulation by bad actors. In its lobbying campaign, Andreessen Horowitz is trying to position itself as an expert acting in the common interest. This is the firm that helped create Silicon Valley’s ruthless brand of capitalism, which builds companies that are incredibly profitable by virtue of their size and dominance. Silicon Valley’s libertarian, market-oriented mindset means that the consequences for society are rarely considered. Andreessen Horowitz is an investor in Facebook (Marc Andreessen still sits on the board), Airbnb, Robinhood and Instacart – and dozens or hundreds of other companies, many in the crypto space. Coinbase, for instance, is a cryptocurrency exchange. To do its crypto lobbying, Andreessen Horowitz has hired people including Tomicah Tillemann, who reached the inner circles of Washington elites with a combination of smarts and – usually more important in Washington — family connections. He’s the grandson of Tom Lantos, a former Congressman, friend of the Bidens, and a Holocaust survivor, who died in 2008. The family still runs the Lantos Foundation, a human rights advocacy organization. Here’s his job description, which strikes a chill: “Tomicah Tillemann is a partner and Global Head of Policy for the a16z crypto team, where he builds public policy architecture to support the next generation of the internet.” Someone asked me, what’s Andreessen Horowitz’s angle here? Based on the firm’s history, the angle is simple: How do we control the crypto regulatory system to benefit our companies, and therefore, ourselves? The self-interest is baked into the culture. Given the complexity of the topic and Andreessen Horowitz’s resources, it will be hard for regulators to stay one step ahead. If you want to look at Tilleman in action and get a sense of how important and how complicated the push-me-pull-you between crypto and the world’s financial regulators will be over the next few years, watch this session: https://www.brettonwoods.org/article/global-standards-for-digital-currencies-0

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

  Working Behind the Scenes, A Swiss Billionaire Is Making the World Wild Again Returning land to First Peoples, the Wyss Foundation is quietly reshaping the conversation around preservation and may have an impact on climate change.  Read the Story »   photo looking up along power plant towers A Few Companies Are Starting to Sequester Carbon, An Important Step to Combat Climate Change. But There Are Roadblocks. A deep dive into the forces slowing the development of innovative solutions to climate change.  Read the Story »   The Negative Sides of Working from Home Workers say they prefer the arrangement, but mental health issues are starting to emerge, especially among young people.  Read the Story »   Headshot of a dark-haired woman Problem Solved: Tips For Getting Your Staff Vaccinated Many workers say they’ll leave if a mandate goes into effect. Far fewer actually quit. Read the Story »

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Report: What The Heartland Must Do To Improve Its Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Educated workers and potential entrepreneurs remain disproportionately on the coasts. Read it here. Indie Bookstores Are Poised to Come Back After the Pandemic “There’s only so much Netflix you can binge,” says one entrepreneur who jumped on the trends.  Read it here. Non-Competes Disproportionately Keep Women From Starting Businesses, says New Report Cornell professor finds businesses with the highest growth potential are blocked.  Read it here. VC Spotlight: Two Women Are Launching a $10M Fund For Sustainable Apparel. They’ve Signed on Eileen Fisher. Alante Capital invests across verticals including deep tech and enterprise software.  Read it here. Startup Spotlight: Vienna-based Spinout Vitreal Lab Brings Laser Light To Display Technology Physics giant Hermann Hauser backed the firm, which is raising more to develop energy-saving, higher-resolution screens. Read it here.

Living the dream

Best Practices: How do you diversify the bro culture tech has been known for? Ada Developers Academy, a cost-free academy focused on low-income Black and brown women and gender diverse people, is one approach. The academy teaches participants to code, along with the opportunity to do a five-month internship at companies such as Amazon and Google. Based in Seattle, it is now expanding into Atlanta.  Buzzworthy: Does the rule of law apply to the powerful? Matt Stoller asks that question in “Enough is enough: The criminal case against Mark Zuckerberg”—but perhaps it can only be asked rhetorically.


The 4.5 hour workweek: A productivity hack Often, the best way to get more done in less time is to expand your network to include more people aligned with your goals. The U.S. Small Business Administration is holding its first annual Innovation Ecosystem Summit, a virtual event taking place from Nov. 15-17, to bring “innovation communities” together and assist with access to funding, navigating the SBIR/STRR world and more. Made in the USA Getting started on your holiday gift shopping? The Ultimate Utensil Gift Box Set ($58.95), sold by a small, San Diego-area family business, could be the answer to what to get your favorite foodies and chefs. It comes with an ice cream scoop, pizza cutter, pie server and spatula in brushed aluminum.  Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list If you’re Portland, Ore.-bound, and love Peruvian food, be sure to stop by Casa Zoraya, known for dishes like Ceviche de Pescado, a creamy chicken stew called Aji de Gallina, and the sirloin-based Lomo Saltado Criollo. 


To list an opportunity in our newsletter, check out our rates here. We cover the emerging economy of diverse founders: Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Uvv7XaslKpLmuabdAV3Bt1SP9NWdizOfMK19lLbk-Ik/edit?ts=6166f2a9 1. Challenges Met Times of Entrepreneurship is seeking proposals for topics and speakers for our first event, Jan. 26-28. Aimed at university entrepreneurship professionals, professors and open to students, we’re looking at topics including disruption in higher education, eco-depression and making the case for entrepreneurship to your university and community. Submit 300-500-word proposals to the email below.  Date: Jan. 26-28, 2022  Location: Virtual Link: shirly@timesofe.com 2. The Next Challenge Is Awarding $100K to Media Startups The Next Challenge for Media & Journalism is a national startup competition seeking groundbreaking for-profit and nonprofit startups that will reinvent media in the coming decade. Early Stage Media Startups and Student-Led Ventures are invited to apply. The Next Challenge will create innumerable opportunities for media startups and student-led ventures to hone their pitches, strengthen their business plans, and connect with industry mentors and strategic partners. The competition is committed to promoting racial and gender equity in media, embracing the demographic shift occurring in our communities and supporting startups with diverse teams.  Date: December 2021 to February 2022  Registration Deadline: November 7th Link: www.thenextchallenge.com   3. CORI’s Pitch Event: Small Towns, Big Ideas The Center on Rural Innovation is hosting a virtual pitch event to help shift the narrative about where scalable tech startups can launch and be successful. This event features startup founders from across the country who are living and working in rural America. They will be competing for a $10,000 prize that will be awarded during the event on Nov. 10, 2021. Attendees will get a chance to be exposed to the wide array of innovators across rural America. Startups are a key source of job creation, and the ones that scale can transform a community and create regenerative wealth. The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is a national nonprofit working to advance economic opportunities across rural America. CORI partners with rural community leaders and advocates who are committed to building prosperous digital economies that support scalable entrepreneurship and tech job creation.  Date and Time: November 10th, 5:30 to 8.00 p.m. Eastern Time  Link: https://bit.ly/30OG78h 4. Village Global: Analyst/Investment Operations and Chief of Staff/Partner Operations San Francisco-based Village Global is searching for people to fill two roles at the venture capital firm, one in analyst/investment operations and the other a chief of staff/partner operations position. The listing on Medium describes the jobs in detail: the first position is for people early in their careers; the second is for someone who’d like to work as the right hand of general partner Erik Torenberg. The ideal candidate, according to the firm, is a high-level project manager with a bias toward execution and action. Village Global’s backers included Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Abby Johnson, Magic Johnson and Anne Wojcicki, as well as Bob Iger.  Link: https://medium.com/village-global/village-global-is-hiring-join-the-team-7248fc2147f7


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This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

A business journalist for 20 years, am the founder of Times of Entrepreneurship and the co-author of The New Builders.