Acceptance Remarks for NVCA’s ‘22 Lifetime Achievement Award
It’s indeed an honor to be placed in the company of this award’s prior recipients. I’ve known them all and admire their many contributions to our profession.
I have enjoyed a charmed life and I’m sure all of you in the venture business have experienced the benefits of timely good luck. I could attribute my luck to the excessive “at bats” I’ve had (and there’s no substitute for those) but in my view, my good fortune should be attributed to the relationships from which I've benefited and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them.
First, I’d like to thank my beautiful family who has had to sometimes wonder if I was prioritizing meeting payrolls of wayward portfolio companies over them, especially on family vacations.
Second, I want to thank my terrific fellow Accel partners in Palo Alto, London, and Bangalore for continuing to build Accel’s reputation long enough for me to be considered for this award.
Third, I’d like to thank all those outstanding entrepreneurs and managers who have allowed me to enjoy the incredibly rewarding and fun experience of participating in the development of their companies.
Fourth, but not least, I need to thank the institution of American venture capital as reflected in the firms here and our industry association, the NVCA. How incredibly lucky are we to be in a profession where you can everyday truly “do good while doing well”? General Doriot described VC as the “pilot light” of American industry. Those of you here know that VC companies are the primary source of dynamism, job creation, and rising standards of living in our economy. These benefits have flowed far beyond American borders. It’s been my great privilege to be able to participate in this process and watch it grow by many orders of magnitude. I always say I’d pay to work with these entrepreneurs, if the LPs ever gave up on me (which thankfully they never did).
We all hate money in politics but the NVCA has played a vital role in reminding members of Congress of the importance of free market mechanisms to our standard of living, in particular the contributions of entrepreneurs and VC. The NVCA can never rest its efforts. My one request to the NVCA is to fix the tax treatment of options. Current treatment is simply unfair, as well as reducing incentives and thus the productivity of VC. Founders and VCs get capital gains treatment while option holders, who are taking the same risks, lose an excessive portion of the gains to which they have so contributed.
Thank you all again for this honor.