Mark Heesen, the hard working and frequent travelling head of the National Venture Capital Association for 14 years, and a good friend to the Angel Capital Association, announced on Thursday his intention to retire from his role as the nation’s top lobbyist for the venture capital industry.
“Mark Heesen and NVCA have been great resources for the Angel Capital Association,” says Marianne Hudson, Executive Director of the ACA. “Early on in ACA’s development and even now, Mark and his team took the time to answer our questions and let us learn from their experience in growing an association of investors. We’ve worked together on some public policy issues, notably Dodd-Frank and the definition of accredited investor, and have had a few of our conferences overlap so VCs and angels could network. I have admired his leadership and will particularly miss him on the road. I don’t have a million frequent flyer points like he does, but I have been in some of the same places, on the same podium.”
“After working for the NVCA for more than two decades and serving as President since 1999, I recently informed the board of directors of my intention to retire as head of the Association,” says Heesen. “I have planned this departure for some time. And the timing is right in my life, and in the life of NVCA, to begin that transition.
“Words cannot express what a privilege it has been to lead and advocate for the venture capital industry for the past 22 years. It has been an incredible ride, one that has seen tremendous progress and change in our industry and in Washington D.C. And personally, I have deposited well over a million frequent flyer points in my account, a milestone that has me looking forward to more time at home with my wife Stacy and my daughters Claudia and Amelia.”
Always pleasant, Heesen helped steer the venture capital industry through difficult times following the burst of the Internet bubble and the consolidation in the VC industry that followed. On his watch, Congress passed the Jobs Act, clearing the road a young company can follow to a public stock offering.
Many of his efforts came at a time when the NVCA’s membership was under great stress. The number of venture capital firms actively investing fell from 1,053 in 2000 to 522 last year, according to NVCA statistics.
“After 22 years of leading the NVCA, Mark Heesen deserves a round of applause,” tweets Jeff Bussgang @bussgang of Flybridge Capital.