Houston’s Next Step: The Role of Funds of Funds in Venture Capital

Recently, Houston Exponential announced plans to create a venture capital Fund of Funds (VC FOF) to support the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. This strategy has been used by other cities, such as Detroit and Cincinnati, to spur local startup growth. Private firms also offer VC Fund of Funds. What does this type of fund look like, and how has it played out in other locations? The Basics FOFs are funds that invest in multiple smaller funds. The increased diversification that they offer invest...
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Development of Research Parks and Innovation Districts in Houston

On May 4, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated his support for building a data science center. The next day, he endorsed plans for an Innovation District. How would these types of development promote entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth in Houston? The Basics What are Research Parks, like the proposed data science center, and Innovation Districts? Research Parks promote research, technological development and commercialization by creating a high density of universities and rese...
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The Carried Interest Debate

In the 2016 election, carried interest and its taxation was a hot topic. Often explained as a “loophole” that allows the rich to exploit tax codes, carried interest is not a political issue that clearly fits within party lines. Lobbying by the financial sector occurs on both sides of the political aisle, and there are opponents and supporters within both parties. What are the dynamics of this debate, and what are the arguments for whether carried interest should be taxed differently? Private In...
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Global Policy Uncertainty and U.S. Stock Trends

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The Financial Times has predicted that “the rise of Donald Trump may already be casting a shadow over the global economy.” When it comes to the Trump Administration, the world is unsure what policies to expect. Trump’s positions on international trade and tendency toward nationalist policies are a concern for the rest of the world. However, the U.S. stock market is performing at record-breaking highs. Economic research has linked policy uncertainty to stock market slowdowns. If this is so, wh...
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Wanted: More Women Entrepreneurs

Introduction The increase of women in the workforce in the twentieth century drove U.S. GDP growth to new highs. However, as U.S. growth slowed, so did the rate of women entering the workforce. Pushing for equal representation in fields where women have been historically underrepresented may be the key to stimulating our economy. Women’s entrepreneurship is one of these fields. Lauded by the Kauffman Foundation as an "economic tailwind that will give a boost to twenty-first-century growth" i...
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Crowdfunding

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What is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is constantly evolving and hard to define. Elizabeth M. Gerber at Northwestern University defines crowdfunding as “an open call over the Internet for financial resources in the form of a monetary donation, sometimes in exchange for a future product, service or reward.” Due to the ease and availability of crowdfunding sites, crowdfunding has changed the way entrepreneurs source funds. A typical modern crowdfunding campaign begins with a page on a crowdfundin...
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The Right to Entrepreneurship

USAID has worked to increase micro credit accessibility. For example, this project in Indonesia provided loans to rural women. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USAID_Micro_Credit_Project.jpg
Entrepreneurship and human rights are not frequently mentioned in the same conversation in the United States. However, in international policy, human rights and entrepreneurship are linked by many common policy goals, including enforcing the rule of law, improving infrastructure and fighting corruption. Rights necessary to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors–like the right to participate in the economy, the rights to education and information and access to credit–are considered crucial for the worl...
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Bureaucracy and Public Sector Innovation

Hierarchies can often be complex and make it difficult for employees on the lower end of the hierarchy to be heard or seen by senior leadership. https://pixabay.com/en/silhouettes-hierarchy-human-man-81830/
The public benefits greatly when there are innovations in how our government approaches policymaking and regulation. However, sometimes barriers created by bureaucratic structures can slow implementation. When regulation and rigidity are holding us back, leaders are responsible for ensuring that our government institutions are allowing for change when our old ways of approaching challenges become antiquated. Innovation in the Public Sector Our traditional idea of innovation tends to point scie...
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Women in Top Tech Companies

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In 2014, many of the top tech companies released information on their employee diversity demographics for the first time, bringing attention to the low representation of women in top tech companies. This post looks beyond these numbers. How are tech companies responding to this gender imbalance? The top five tech companies by market cap are, in order: Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. The gender balance of each company’s workforce is in the table below: All of ...
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Startups of the Season

Play can be one of the best methods for children to learn to understand the world around them. https://pixabay.com/en/children-playing-exercise-play-310223/
While the holiday season approaches, educational toys are in high demand. Some of the most innovative new toys are produced by startups. For many of these toys, they began with an entrepreneur who saw a need to integrate play and learning. According to the most recent statistics, the United States toy market is worth $21.18 billion. In 2015, the industry surpassed growth expectations, which is especially impressive when compared to the overall retail industry, which grew 0.7 percent less than...
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