Creating a National DeepTech Capital Fund

Authors: Leslie Jump, Mack Kolarich, and Ellen Brooks Shehata


Summary 

The Biden-Harris Administration should establish a National DeepTech Capital Fund (NDTC Fund) to bridge capital gaps and enable more DeepTech entrepreneurs to bring promising and beneficial technologies to market.


Greater investment in DeepTech is critical in order to return the United States to the forefront of advanced science and technology research and development (R&D). “DeepTech” refers to companies and innovators building science-based, or R&D-based, products and services including hardware and advanced materials, robotics, manufacturing, and biotech. U.S. government investment in technology has declined by two-thirds in the past decades. Private capital typically eschews investment in advanced technologies, due to a combination of the additional expertise needed for and risks inherent to advanced-technology investment. Silicon Valley’s early days were cushioned by government risk capital at a time when the private sector could not see the value of investing in R&D. But relying entirely on Silicon Valley to drive investment in innovation has led the U.S. to a point where it risks being replaced by other innovation centers such as China. A National DeepTech Capital Fund would encourage and enable investment in companies building solutions to society’s greatest challenges, while ensuring that the United States remains at the center of global innovation.


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About the Authors

Leslie Jump has over 30 years’ experience building, advising, and investing in new companies, in the United States and across the globe. She is the Founder and CEO of Different, the first platform designed and built for investing in venture funds. Prior to that, she was a Partner in Sawari Ventures, LLC, a Cairo-based early-stage venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs across the Middle East/North Africa. She continues as an advisor to Flat6Labs, Sawari Ventures’ dedicated startup accelerator for seed-stage investments. Leslie has served on the Board of UP Global, a network of entrepreneurs and startup community leaders, and Ubongo, a leading children’s edutainment company reaching over 440 million children in Africa. She is an alumna of St. John's College (Annapolis, MD/Santa Fe, NM), and is Vice Chair of its Board of Visitors and Governors.


Mack Kolarich is a serial entrepreneur and startup community leader, and the Cofounder and Chief Product Officer of Different. He spearheads Different’s product design and development as well as its fund due diligence team. He leverages his deep expertise and networks in 50+ global startup ecosystems to help source and assess funds for Different. In addition to his work at Different, Mack cofounded Startup Angels with Leslie Jump after meeting her at an entrepreneurs’ summit in Rio de Janeiro. Together, they have taught investor workshops in 30+ markets around the world. Previously, Mack cofounded SceneSquid (a software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketing tool), Startup Jackpot, and GetSpontaneous. As a global and corporate facilitator with Startup Weekend, Mack has run entrepreneur programs across the globe and helped pioneer Startup Weekend’s corporate innovation program—working with organizations like Booz Allen Hamilton, Coca Cola and the World Bank. In a prior life, Mack worked with the U.S. International Trade Administration and as a backcountry ranger for the National Park Service. He loves mountaineering, quality outdoor gear, and good design. He has a B.A. in Political Science and Political Economy from Carleton College.


Ellen Brooks Shehata is the Director of Investor Relations at Different. She has a decade of expertise working in the Middle East in finance, investment advisory, fundraising, and policy. She was most recently a Vice President in JPMorgan’s Private Banking division. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs: International Finance, Middle Eastern Studies. She is President of the Board of ArteEast and Co-founder of NY Policy Perspectives. She holds the Series 7 and 63 securities licenses.