It’s a question every major startup must answer eventually: What do you do when the regulators come knocking?
The answer varies depending on who you ask — for Uber, the solution used to be holding firm and butting heads with regulators, but in more recent years the ridesharing company turned to former Obama advisor David Plouffe to fight its battles. Airbnb fought back against regulation in its hometown of San Francisco by plastering the city with passive-aggressive billboards, and is now suing San Francisco and other cities over their home-sharing laws. For Theranos, the answer seems to be shutting down.
Some of Silicon Valley’s fiercest battles the last few years have been over policy, not competing products. Handling regulatory fights or averting them altogether is becoming a cottage industry — and at Disrupt SF, we’ll be talking to some of the leaders in that field.
Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures, Hemant Taneja of General Catalyst Partners and Ted Ullyot of Andreessen Horowitz will be joining us onstage at Disrupt SF to tell us how they guide startups through the sometimes murky regulatory waters. It’s not only in a startup’s best interest to pay attention to regulation; investors are becoming more interested as they look to mitigate risk for their portfolio companies.
Tusk heads up Tusk Ventures, a policy advisory firm. He recently guided Fan Duel and DraftKings back from the brink of extinction after regulators in several states decided the fantasy sports sites were illegal and shouldn’t be allowed to operate. The sites just had a big win in New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation legalizing them, in part thanks to Tusk.
Taneja has a track record of investing in highly regulated industries like healthcare. His investment philosophy centers on what he calls “economies of unscale,” and he believes that government is facing the same disruptive forces that drive the tech industry.
Ullyot has spent more than a year building out Andreessen Horowitz’s policy team, which aims to be a point of contact in Silicon Valley for lawmakers who are considering new regulation of the tech industry and for startups that are still learning the regulatory landscape. Ullyot’s team also advises Andreessen Horowitz’s investments when policy could have an unexpected influence.
Join us for a discussion about the regulation of the tech industry at Pier 48 in San Francisco, September 12-14. Tickets are available so get yours today!
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