Internet Regulation and Investment

Around the world, policymakers are considering a new wave of rules and regulations for business and content on the Internet.

Matthew LeMerle, an active angel investor and founder of the firm Fifth Era, visited with us on the Innovation Agenda to discuss the firm's annual survey. In the 2016 edition, the survey explored investor attitudes toward regulation of the Internet. The survey is available on CTC's Research page.

“Today, there are lots of calls to regulate one or another aspect of the Internet," LeMerle said. "Every country around the world is thinking through what they should or shouldn’t do.”

CTC asked LeMerle what may change. “There are some scenarios in which regulation could substantially reduce the growth of the Internet," he answered, "and this is something that we wanted to explore in more detail through our survey.”

On the key findings of the survey, he pointed out that “the first and perhaps somewhat unsurprising finding is: around the world in every country, investors who focus on Internet investing are very concerned about the legal environment and the potential that regulation might negatively impact the investments that they make.”

We explored whether this platform is sensitive to potential regulatory changes. LeMerle replied, “In the case of the internet, a regulation can actually make it impossible to move forward with a particular business model or a particular product or service.”

Ironically, the economic development strategies of practically every government involve attracting more technology and innovation. “Most countries around the world, when you look at their industrial policy, they have ‘creating additional innovation clusters’ as probably the number one or two on their list of to-dos,” LeMerle pointed out.

Listen to part one of our conversation with Matthew LeMerle here:

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