Here Are the Investors Still Writing Checks During the Coronavirus Crisis

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.

Here Are the Investors Still Writing Checks During the Coronavirus Crisis

These are scary times for investors and founders. A record bull market, more than a decade of ballooning valuations, and an ever expanding roster of venture capital deals of varying stripes all came to a screeching halt this month as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world and brought the economy to a standstill.


VC deal flow is not like the public markets. One can't turn on CNBC and get an instant gauge of private markets, so it is impossible to know beyond anecdotes how VC activity has been impacted. But one thing many founders want to know is who is still out there writing checks and it seems a lot of people are, at least according to a list compiled by Laurent Grill, lead investor at corporate backed early stage fund, Luma Launch.

"You had founders who are freaking out because their assumption is no one is investing." Grill said. "But investors are investing."

Last week, Grill started emailing hundreds of fellow investors to see if they were still writing checks amidst the pandemic. He was originally trying to find the next round of capital for one his own portfolio companies but decided in the spirit of generosity to broaden his search and posted a query on LinkedIn. It ended up going viral and Grill's inbox was quickly flooded.

"When I posted this, I didn't expect to have 500 notifications," Grill told dot.LA last week. "It's pretty overwhelming because I'm not an influencer."

He has received 275 responses so far and the vast majority say they are still doing deals. (20% asked not to be included on the public list and he also excluded angel investors.)

Grill feels the results from his query are encouraging and he wants to publicize the fact that there are still plenty of opportunities amidst the doom and gloom. He also wants to facilitate the introductions that would normally happen at conferences and in-person meetings.

However, just because most everyone says they are still investing does not mean it is not going be a lot harder to get capital.

He suspects deals have significantly declined, though no one wants to completely shut their doors. There are optics to consider and also the fear of overlooking the next great unicorn. "We live in an industry of FOMO, because if people aren't investing they are worried they are going to miss a deal," Grill said.

725 companies came to Grill that said they are looking for financing and he has now partnered with FounderNest to help manage introductions. Other companies who want to be included should go here and investors who want to be part of the listing should fill out this form.


https://twitter.com/thebenbergman
ben@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Relativity Space Surpasses $1 Billion in Contracts, Inks New Deal with Satellite Maker OneWeb

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Relativity Space uses giant 3-D printers to produce components for its Terran rockets.
Photo from Relativity Space

Rocket maker Relativity Space soared past a milestone today, surpassing $1 billion worth of contracts for launches on its 3D-printed Terran R rocket.

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Goop’s Noora Raj Brown On Having the Hard Conversations That Make Change

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Goop SVP Noora Raj Brown
Photo courtesy of Noora Raj Brown

On this week’s episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast, host Yasmin Nouri talks with the executive vice president of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, Noora Raj Brown.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending