VC: “Entrepreneurs have a lot of the power”

Ann Miura-Ko is known for using the term “ninja assassin” in describing the kinds of technology entrepreneurs she likes to invest in as a venture capitalist and co-founder of Silicon Valley’s Floodgate Fund. Reuters recently caught up with one of the country’s up-and-coming VCs, after Miura-Ko attended at a Washington, D.C. conference addressing financing options for small companies.

Q: You’ve said you are concerned about impending regulatory restrictions on small investment firms as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act takes effect. Why?

A: This comes out of the result of some bad behavior on the part of investors. But what they’re (government is) trying to do is mitigate risk for the whole economy by having smaller investment firms also register with the SEC. As a small fund myself, that doesn’t have a lot of overhead, we don’t have a lot of back-office people working for us. The amount of reporting that is required relative to the amount of risk it de-risks for the entire economy, I think that the cost benefit doesn’t really make sense to me. We as a really small fund would have to start registering with the SEC pretty soon, and the amount of back-office work that would be required is kind of ridiculous.

Q: You’re interested in easing residency restrictions for foreign-born entrepreneurs. Why?

A: One of the topics I love to talk a little bit about is the concept of the startup visa, which would enable founders to be able to stay in the United States longer and be able to start their companies here. I recently did a study on some of the top (startup) exits that have happened over the course of the last five years. What’s really outstanding is the number of founders who come from outside the United States. I’d like to foster that. I look at fellow graduate students from Stanford and where they ended up. I see really a lot of technical talent staying here even after they get graduate degrees and I think that’s also going to work for a competitive advantage.

Hot Prospects: Ann Miura-Ko, Floodgate Fund

– The following profile is an abbreviated version of Venture Capital Journal senior editor Joanna Glasner’s piece for the the VCJ’s series on “Hot Prospects” within the venture capital industry. –

Ann Miura-Ko has been in the epicenter of startup innovation since the fifth grade. That’s when the now 33-year-old partner in newly formed Floodgate Fund (formerly Maples Investments) moved to Palo Alto, California, where her father worked as a rocket scientist at nearby NASA-Ames.

After graduating from Yale, Miura-Ko followed a well-worn VC path, taking a job with consulting firm McKinsey & Co. A couple years into that job, Miura-Ko met her future mentor, Ted Dintersmith, a partner at Charles River Ventures. CRV had posted an ad for an analyst on the McKinsey job board, and Miura-Ko applied for and won the position.