Grady heads NVCA board, Roizen up in 07

Robert Grady, managing partner of Carlyle Venture Partners, took the helm as chairman of the National Venture Capital Association last week and settled into his one-year term by calling for increased spending on education, higher immigration quotas for skilled workers and a relaxation of some of the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

The NVCA also named six new board members. They are Keith Crandell of ARCH Venture Partners; Barbara Dalton of Euclid SR Partners; Diana Frazier of FLAG Capital Management; John Jaggers of Sevin Rosen Funds; Robert Kibble of Mission Ventures; and Terry McGuire of Polaris Venture Partners.

They join a heavily crowded board of 27 others VCs, each of whom serve four-year terms.

Grady – who replaces Joe Aragona of Austin Ventures – also announced that Heidi Roizen, a managing director of Mobius Venture Capital, would take his place as chairperson in 2007.

As he prepared to address an audience of reporters and NVCA board members at the group’s annual meeting last week in San Jose, Calif., Grady, a Washington, D.C. insider, checked the status of immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate via his Blackberry. Before he entered private equity, Grady wrote speeches for and served as an assistant to President George H.W. Bush and worked in the Office of Management and Budget as executive associate director.

He’ll need all the political savvy he can muster to push through the NVCA agenda he outlined for keeping America competitive. His program is dubbed “Maximizing America’s Growth for the Nation’s Entrepreneurs and Technologists,” but, in typical Washington-speak the program has been turned into an acronym: MAGNET.

The program is an advocacy and awareness campaign that calls for education reforms, eased immigration restrictions, increased investment in national research, and improvements to public market disclosure laws.

Grady’s policy on revisiting Sarbanes-Oxley is garnering support from other NVCA board members who have had trouble getting their startups to go public.

“It’s like we’ve taken this Howitzer and pointed it at Enron but blew away all of these small companies in the process,” said Ted Dintersmith, a partner at Charles River Ventures and NVCA board member.

The NVCA working group focused on this federal regulation is pushing for a full exemption of Section 404 reporting requirements for public companies under $120 million in market capitalization.

“Is this going to change? It has to change,” says Ted Schlein, a partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and the head of the working group. He cited the excessive costs as the impetus for a change. “They thought it was going to cost each company $92,000 a year,” he says of the bill’s legislators. “They were wrong.”

Schlein estimated that the average cost for Section 404 compliance is closer to $2 million a year per company.