The Department of Justice and Stanford University will hold a public workshop on Feb. 12, 2020, to explore the intersection between venture capital and antitrust law. The full-day workshop will discuss trends in venture capital investment from the 1990s through present, with a focus on what antitrust enforcers can learn from investors about how to identify nascent competitors in markets dominated by technology platforms. The workshop will also address proposed solutions to concerns that competitive alternatives to the market-leading platforms are not attractive investment opportunities.
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the Stanford Graduate School of Business will co-host the workshop, which will bring together venture capitalists, academics from both law and business, and other tech industry stakeholders. The Antitrust Division and Stanford intend to explore the practical considerations that early stage investors face when calculating the risks of investing in a startup and exit strategies.
“The Antitrust Division is excited to partner with Stanford University on this workshop to learn from participants in the venture capital industry, who must predict the future of technology markets on a daily basis,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Private investment plays a critical role in the dynamic competition that characterizes many technology markets, and it is fundamental to our mission at the Antitrust Division that we understand how market conditions today affect incentives for that investment.”
Assistant Attorney General Delrahim will open the workshop, followed by a fireside chat with Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital regarding trends in venture capital investment. Next, Stanford Law Professor Doug Melamed will introduce the basic legal framework for venture capitalists to think about antitrust principles, and then a series of panels will examine: (1) kill zones; (2) monetizing data; and (3) investing in platform-dominated markets. Dean Jonathan Levin of the Stanford Graduate School of Business will open the workshop’s afternoon session, which will conclude with a roundtable discussion recapping the competitive concerns raised throughout the day and evaluating proposed solutions to those concerns.
The Department of Justice invites comments from the public on the topics covered by this workshop. Interested parties may submit public comments online now through March 14, 2020, at ATR.VCworkshop@usdoj.gov.
The workshop is free and open to the public and will take place at Paul Brest Hall, 555 Salvatierra Walk, Stanford University, from 9 a.m. Pacific Time to 5 p.m. Pacific Time. A recording of the workshop will be available on the Division’s website. Registration information, an agenda, directions to the event, and a list of speakers will be available in the near future on the event webpage. Please register in advance for the workshop at https://law.stanford.edu/event/public-workshop-on-venture-capital-and-antitrust/. Members of the press also should copy Alexei.Woltornist@usdoj.gov on their registration email. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. If you need such an accommodation, please contact the Antitrust Division at ATR.VCworkshop@usdoj.gov. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and a way to contact you if we need more information.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
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