Advising Both Government and Business
How do you follow up testimony by top executives from Apple, Microsoft and Intel about the importance of investing in early stage technology start-ups? If you’re the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and your task involves working with wide-ranging stakeholder groups to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets, you call professor Jeffrey Sohl at Paul College.
Sohl is one of the world’s foremost experts on angel investing and the top expert on female angel investing. He spends much of the year advising governments and powerful business groups about how angel investing works, when it doesn’t work and what can be done to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs.
“To stay in the U.S., this group has to meet a threshold of angel investment. The threshold was derived directly from my research.”
In the case of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Sohl was asked to explain how early stage angel funding worked so that the office could make it easier for the Apples of this world to direct some of their enormous resources toward angel investing. A second recent trip to Capitol Hill involved an immigration bill for immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to start businesses in the U.S.
“To stay in the U.S., this group has to meet a threshold of angel investment. The threshold was derived directly from my research,” Sohl says.
When equity crowd-funding came under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2016, the SEC called on Sohl to walk them through the strengths and potential pitfalls of this new online method of early stage investing. That same year, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship invited Sohl to testify on effective tax incentives and policy strategy for helping venture capitalists and angel investors fund entrepreneurs and start-up companies.
In the final weeks of 2016, Sohl concluded a three-year term as a member of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Capitalizing Science, Technology and Innovation. The committee, tasked with evaluating the impacts and effectiveness of the Small Business Innovation Research program, was created 10 years ago to encourage all federal agencies to search for ways to commercialize innovation.