In her first speech as the SEC’s Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, Martha Miller provided an overview of the Office’s mission, as well as the Office’s priorities. Miller noted the importance of the small businesses in the United States, and commented on access to funding. She observed that in recent years, the amounts raised in exempt securities offerings has outpaced the amounts raised in registered securities offerings. While there is significant private capital available, including venture capital, to fund emerging companies, Miller observed that the availability of venture funding though is limited—for example, while VC-backed companies in the United States raised over $99 billion in over 5,000 transactions in 2018, companies in three states received three-quarters of the funding.
The mission of the Office is to give an independent voice to small businesses, and to advocate for small businesses and their investors. The Office intends to work with small businesses to understand their capital formation issues, help small businesses resolve issues with the SEC and self-regulatory organizations, including by recommending policy changes; and analyze the potential impact of proposed rules and regulations likely to significantly affect small businesses. For purposes of the Office’s focus, “small business” is understood to include private and public companies with less than $250 million in market capitalization. The Office will annually submit a report to Congress analyzing issues important to small business capital formation.