The Art of the Regulatory Hack
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If the next 20 years of startup-led tech innovation are going to be about addressing massive problems — like health, energy, transportation, cities, education, and more — it will mean more directly confronting (instead of stealthily bypassing) regulatory barriers and incumbent-driven regulatory capture challenges. So how can startups “growth hack” in a highly regulated sector? In this episode of the a16z Podcast — the second of our podcasts from our most recent on-the-road trip in Washington, D.C. — Evan Burfield, the co-founder and co-CEO of D.C.-based global incubator 1776, outlines the techniques (really, an art form) of “regulatory hacking”. It’s not just a way to enter a market, but a way to create a market … much like Elon Musk did with Tesla: using the very system that drops lemons to make lemonade. The technique begins by understanding informal and formal power; “power mapping” the influencers all across the chessboard (from the top down and bottom up); telling your startup brand/product story in a…