Aneesh Chopra, Obama’s Chief Techie, on Building a Startup-Friendly Region and Why Now is the Best Time to be an Innovator in America

5/9/11Follow @curtwoodward

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giant and early Startup America participant, was pledging $3.6 million through its charitable foundation to team up with universities in creating an “ecosystem” of money, mentorship, and support networks for entrepreneurs in North Carolina.

That addresses the early “valley of death” that startups face when trying to prove whether their concept works. After that, entrepreneurs face the second key test of whether their concept can work on a larger scale. Chopra says Startup America is targeting that crucial point in startup development by pushing more large companies to foster startup growth and work with early stage companies.

“I think those two interventions by Startup America Partnership, even if we didn’t change the dynamic from a capital-access standing, should increase the success rate of companies. And I imagine my message in Seattle will be very much the same spirit, which is to say, how might the local community embody these principals that the Startup America Partnership has called for nationally, to demonstrate the benefits here?

“Nordstrom—what is Nordstrom doing to enable startups to participate in their supply chain? Or the bigger boys, like Amazon and Starbucks?” (It should be noted that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is a partner in the Startup America effort.)

There’s plenty more where that came from, including an interesting story—Chopra says it’s his favorite—of how a suggestion from a physician got the feds to convene a group of techies, who hashed out the first standards for a secure network of medical information, allowing the healthcare system to share records electronically. A year after all that code was produced, there’s already a new company using the system—and Chopra says he expects more to follow.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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