Founders and Investors Do Not Share Wall Street's Optimism, New Survey Finds

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Founders and Investors Do Not Share Wall Street's Optimism, New Survey Finds

Valuations are dropping substantially, pessimism about the economy is growing, and most VCs remain skeptical about investing in fully remote companies. Those are some of the sobering findings of a new survey released Tuesday of 141 VCs and 461 seed and series-A founders by NFX, an early-stage firm based in San Francisco.

The firm first performed the survey in early April – during the relatively early days of the coronavirus pandemic – and decided to follow up last week to see how sentiments have changed. It found that over that time, founders and investors have become more pessimistic about how long it will take the economy to recover. Perhaps not surprisingly, founders remain more optimistic than VCs. Wall Street has also been far more hopeful of a quick recovery, though this survey was conducted June 3rd, before May's shockingly positive jobs numbers were released.


Fundraising is a mixed bag, with about half of founders saying they are moving up their raises and the other half saying they will delay or stop raising money.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • 60% of VCs have seen valuations drop by 20-30% so far as a result of COVID-19 and they predict additional declines over the next year.
  • Though 74% of founders plan to move to majority or fully remote work, nearly 60% of VCs say that remote teams are less attractive as investments. Only 9% say remote teams make them more likely to invest.
  • 40% of tech founders have reported no change to revenue while 20% have reported an increase in revenue.
  • 60% of founders are still hiring, but half of those say they're offering lower salaries.
  • 60% of founders give the federal government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic a D or F failing grade.





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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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