Michael Capuano on crowdfunding, the IPO bill and the startup visa
By: Kyle Alspach, March 16, 2012
On Thursday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano paid a visit to the Cambridge Innovation Center's Venture Cafe, a popular networking meetup for Boston area startups. After an address to the crowd (which I missed), Capuano took a few minutes to share what's on his mind about the IPO/crowdsourcing bill, entrepreneurship and immigration. Here's part of the interview. You talked about crowdfunding tonight — what did you discuss? Crowdfunding in itself is a relatively non-controversial subject, but it's now been put together with five other bills, several of which in my opinion are dangerous. And that's the way they do it. They won't let ideas — decent, non-controversial ideas — they seem not to allow them to move forward. But I think it's going to pass. And I think it's going to be soon too.
What do you think is dangerous about other measures in the bill? I think the concept of allowing small businesses (an easier IPO) is a good idea. But some of the other provisions (include) defining 'small' as up to $1 billion of revenue, for exempting from oversight. That would've exempted Dunkin' Donuts and Spirit Airlines, which I don't think anybody in their right mind (would do). They're fine businesses, but they're not small businesses. Even then i'm not opposed to the concept, I just thought the numbers were way too high. They're exempting up to 90 percent of the IPOs. On the current law, we already exempt 60 percent of the IPOs. And I have no problem raising that number. It's $75 million now. I think $1 billion is way too high. You also talked about immigration reform and entrepreneurship? I've been a proponent of immigration reform for a long time. I think it's essential to the future of this country. But my focus is less on the agricultural aspects of it, mine's on the academic aspects. I'm not looking to bring anybody here to take anyone's job that's qualified to have that job. I'm talking about the best and the brightest from around the world. We already bring them here to educate them, and then we send them home. And that is shortsighted and stupid. As far as I'm concerned, if I had my druthers, I'd almost require them to stay here for a period of time. And once they put roots down they're highly unlikely to go home. But at the moment, I don't know how much progress on that we're going to make ... It's kind of funny, because the business community wants it, the academic community wants it. And yet we still can't get even people who allege themselves to be pro-business to move this forward.
And these reforms are important for places that focus on innovation like Massachusetts. This country's future is not in the competition for low-wage jobs. I don't know anybody who says, 'I want my son or daughter to grow up to have a low-wage job. They want them to grow up to have the opportunity to have a high wage job, and high wage jobs are innovation jobs. … If we don't keep moving forward with better power sources, better computers, the world will catch up. People in China and India can do this and will do this work for a lot cheaper than we will. Would the startup visa be a good start? That's not all we should do. I don't want just visas. I want to encourage people to take citizenship, and I want to keep them forever.
An interview with U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano during his visit to the Cambridge Innovation Center's Venture Cafe, a popular networking meetup for Boston area startups, on Thursday afternoon,
He took a few minutes to share what's on his mind about the IPO/crowdsourcing bill, entrepreneurship and immigration.
According to U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, crowdfunding in itself is a relatively non-controversial subject, but it's now been put together with five other bills, several of which in his opinion are dangerous. But still he thinks it's going to pass and it's going to be soon too.