Madrona Venture Group’s Matt McIlwain usually spends his days scouring the Pacific Northwest landscape for the hottest startups. But not this week. McIlwain is one of a handful of venture capitalists braving the heat of Tampa, showing their support for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Of course, it’s not a surprise that Romney has support among a contingent of the venture capital crowd given the former Massachusetts governor’s past career at private equity firm Bain Capital. And McIlwain, who addressed the Washington delegation last night at a gathering, isn’t alone his trek to Tampa. Fortune’s Dan Primack also notes that Paul Edgerley of Bain Capital and Alex Navab of KKR also are attending the festivities.
McIlwain, perhaps the most accomplished venture capitalist in the Seattle area, has become more politically active in recent years. He was at the forefront of the technology leadership group that repelled Initiative-1098, which would have imposed an income tax on high-earners in Washington state.
He was also in attendance at a gubernatorial candidate forum hosted by the Washington Technology Industry Association earlier this month. Other Seattle area technology investors supporting the Romeny-Ryan ticket include former McCaw Cellular executive Wayne Perry and Ignition’s John Connors.
I asked McIlwain, who is the co-chair of the Washington state finance committee for Mitt Romney, why he wanted to attend the Republican National Convention.
“The convention is a great opportunity to meet with leaders in the public and private sector to discuss policy issues and to understand better the solutions a Romney-Ryan administration would prioritize,” said McIlwain via email.
Here’s more from McIlwain:
“A core belief in America is that everyone deserves the opportunity to be all that they can be. And, the innovation economy that we are helping to advance each day, emodies that American promise. I believe that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can be trusted to lead, prioritize the right issues — job growth, education, tax and entitlement reform — and work with others to help every American have their opportunity to succeed. And, they will reform broken programs in a way that will protect those programs for people who need them today and preserve those programs for people that will need them tomorrow. We just need to tell the American people the truth about the challenges we face and what is needed to fix them. Americans understand the big choice in front of us, and will understand and respond.”