Congress Gives States More Money; Indiana’s Share Estimated at $434 Million

Just before heading home for its August recess, the U.S. Senate passed a $26 billion mini-stimulus that it struggled with for months. And House leadership decided to call its members back from recess to act on the legislation, which has two main components: (1) $16.1 billion to extend increased Medicaid funding for states (what is referred to as FMAP or Federal Medical Assistance Percentages); and (2) another $10 billion said to be needed to prevent teacher layoffs.

The debate involved both fiscal prudence and the perceived benefit of these state subsidies, as well as the specifics of how to pay for them. Proponents say $9 billion is to be generated from a "provision that closes corporate tax breaks on income earned overseas." Proponents think this ends an incentive to "export jobs overseas." A different – and more accurate – description would be that this is nothing more than a tax increase for businesses that happen to employ workers both in the U.S. and overseas.

The debate took its own politically charged form in Indiana this week, as efforts were made to characterize Gov. Daniels as inconsistent on the FMAP funding issue. He and 42 other governors sought the funding in a joint letter from the National Governors Association, with some qualifying statements, back in February, but Gov. Daniels has consistently pointed out the detrimental effects of the federal government continuing to spend money it doesn’t have while putting this particular legislation in that category.

The federal package would provide an estimated total of $434 million to Indiana: $227 million for six months of additional FMAP funding (an extension of provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the stimulus bill) and another $207 million under the teacher funding element. A $227 million subsidy to our state finances would be helpful as the General Assembly prepares for what all agree will be a brutal budget session in 2011. And school districts no doubt would welcome the money as they grapple with their budgets. But, the situation seems to pit practicality against principle. Regardless of your philosophy or political affiliation, the question remains: Why shouldn’t Indiana citizens and businesses who pay federal taxes receive the benefit of money that the federal government insists on distributing?

Venturing Along the Capital Trail

That headline is a cute way of saying "who are the recipients of venture capital?" CB Insights, a New York-based services firm for the financial industry, tried to answer that question in a recent study. You can sign up for free to get the full report, but I found this analysis from the State Science & Technology Institute provided a good overview.

 A CB Insights’ report on the "human capital" of venture-backed Internet companies finds that vast majority of company founders are white. They also tend to be between 35 and 44 years old, male and have MBAs.

When venture capitalists are asked the most important factor in choosing a company for a deal, they often say that the founder or team weighs heaviest in their decisions. CB Insights drills down into this human element by providing data on the founders of Internet companies that received venture capital in the first half of 2010. The study includes data on race, age and experience, the number of founders per company, gender and the educational background/pedigree of the founders. It also provides specific data on deals in California, Massachusetts and New York.

Within the 165 deals tracked in the study, 87 percent of early stage, venture-backed Internet startup founders were white, with 83 percent of entire founding teams being all white. Only 77 percent of the general U.S. population is white. Asian founders represented 12 percent of founders, while making up 4 percent of the U.S. population. The percentage of Asian founders was larger in California, and their companies tended to receive larger investments. Black founders accounted for only 1 percent of company founders, while Native Americans and "other" represented less than one percent.

The founders in the study were overwhelmingly male. Across the country, 92 percent of founders were male and 86 percent of teams were all male. Massachusetts had the highest percentage of female founders with 27 percent. All-male and all-female teams received similar levels of funding, but mixed teams received substantially more.

Almost half of the founding teams had average ages between 35 and 44. Teams in the 26-34 age range, however, tended to receive more capital. Massachusetts favored somewhat older teams, New York favored younger teams, and California teams fell in the middle. Nationally, 51 percent of founders hold a Master’s or PhD, but two-thirds of all teams had at least one person with an advanced degree. In New York, founders with only an undergraduate degree actually tended to raise more capital. Cornell, Stanford and Harvard produced the most founders with undergraduate degrees. Harvard, Stanford and MIT’s graduate programs generated the most founders with advanced degrees. About 37 percent of companies had one founder, 40 percent had two, 19 percent had three, and 4 percent had four partners.

While providing an interesting snapshot of the founders who received funding in the first half of 2010, there are limits on the conclusions that can be drawn from the CB Insights report. It focuses exclusively on venture-backed Internet companies, and, since it is the first in a series of reports, no trend data is yet available. Also, without data on who is seeking for venture funding, the report does not reveal much about the preferences of venture firms. It is clear, however, that the population of venture-backed founders included in the study does not reflect the diversity of the U.S. population.