Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Silicon Valley to Open Think Tank in DC

The technology companies of Silicon Valley have ramped up their donations to think tanks in recent years, but today, they are pivoting to a different strategy: opening their very own think tank.

Here is more from Politico:
Silicon Valley bigwigs Sean Parker and Ron Conway are throwing their weight behind a new organization in Washington that will craft centrist proposals to stimulate the economy and press Congress to enact them, according to plans provided to POLITICO.
The Economic Innovation Group is set to launch Tuesday after about 18 months of behind-the-scenes preparation. Principals declined to say how much money is behind it, but people involved say the inclusion of names like Parker and Conway — the first president of Facebook and a legendary startup investor, respectively — give the effort credibility.

The first conversations about the group began at the end of 2012, said co-founder Steve Glickman, and organizers met with Parker at the beginning of 2013. The rest, the founders say, grew “organically.”
The co-founders of the group are Glickman, a California Democrat and former National Economic Council aide in the Obama administration; and John Lettieri, a South Carolina Republican and onetime staffer for former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel.
Other co-founders are: Rebecca Lynn, co-founder of Canvas Venture Fund; Joseph Sanberg, co-founder of Aspiration.com and Pt Capital; Dana Settle, co-founder of Greycroft Partners; and Ted Ullyot, investor and first General Counsel of Facebook.

The new think tank, Economic Innovation Group (EIG), says that several politicians have been involved in the startup of the new policy shop, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), and Rep. Gred Walden (R-OR).

EIG says that "implementation" of their desired policies is what sets them apart from other think tanks in Washington, DC.  Sean Parker expects a few wins in 20 or 30 years.

According to Politico, the think tank plans to release its first white paper on economic issues next month.  That paper is reportedly co-written by Kevin Hassett (of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute) and Jared Bernstein (of the liberal-leaning think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Think Tank Watch noticed, however, that they have already released a draft paper titled "Beneath The Recovery: Obstacles to Growth and Opportunity in the New Economy."

Here is a press release about the think tank and a blog post by the co-founders about why they have launched the think tank.  Here is what TechCrunch says about the new bipartisan think tank.

The think tank's website can be found here.  It includes a list of its leadership.  The think tank is based in Chinatown, at 711 D Street, NW in Washington, DC.