Guest Column: What Early Stage Startups Should Be Thinking About COVID-19 Right Now
Image courtesy of Halogen Ventures

As the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 continues to play out, we are all facing new challenges as we adjust to this "new" normal. However, it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom for early-stage startups, with the right approach and plan your business can survive and thrive through this unprecedented time.

Here are a few things early stage founders should be thinking about:


1. Plan B & Plan C - If you are not a profitable company and moving through your runway at a fast clip, you should probably be realistic, come up with a Plan B and C. Plan B should consist of how to extend your runway funds for 12 - 18 months. Many venture funds are actually recommending 24 month. Do you need to restructure? Do you need to cut on marketing spend? Where can you slim down to extend your runway? Plan C should entail acquisition planning if you don't think slimming down is going to fly and get you through the next 12 months. We prefer that our companies grow but sometimes this just isn't in the cards. Who can you sell to? Is this the best option right now? What assets do you have that are worth something? Consider proprietary technology, possibly customers depending on your agreements, management team? Plan B & Plan C is something we coach our founders to have regardless of COVID-19 so get these plans in order if you don't already have them. Always, but especially during this time, founders need to be malleable and be thinking about all types of scenarios.

2. Reprioritize & Be Nimble - What are the MOST important projects you are working on that will deliver the biggest impact. Focus all of your resources and time on those 2-3 things. Be sure that your team is aligned here and have their eye on the prize as well. You definitely can't do it all right now. Just pick the money makers and be nimble. Founders that are creative, scrappy and are open to new ways of doing things, will be the most likely to persevere.

3. Create a Work From Home Culture - As all businesses are adapting to this new reality, your team will most likely be working from home for the foreseeable future. This is a great time to rejigger your regular team meetings and figure out the most productive time to connect with everyone. We have regular Monday meetings where we go through all our biggest line items and then check-ins two more times throughout the week with our full team to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can't expect people to work from home and be on consistent Zoom calls for 16 hours a day. Put some good structure in place to maintain productivity in a thoughtful way. Many executives complain to me about how meetings all day fill up their time and cause them to be less productive on the important things. Who knows, you may figure out a way to make your meetings even more efficient than they have been before! Also, there is an opportunity to connect with your teams and co-workers in new ways, virtual happy hours, trivia, or haven't you always wondered what your co-workers apartment looks like? Maybe you start off the first Zoom call with a tour or show and tell?

Look! Don't freak out.

Keep your long term goal in mind. With the right mindset, coronavirus can be a setback, not a failure. The companies that make it through will be ten times bigger than those that had to start over. And look back at the recession in 2008, all of the biggest technology companies you know today came out of the 2008 recession. Let's look at it as a moment to slow down and reprioritize. Staying in your PJs, not shaving and seeing your kids more around the house for a few weeks has to alleviate some stress.

Jesse Draper is a founding partner at Halogen Ventures.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

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.

Read moreShow less

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.

Read moreShow less

Blockchain Company Levvels Brings NFTs to K-Pop Fans

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Blockchain Company Levvels Brings NFTs to K-Pop Fans

Entertainment company HYBE—the corporation behind international phenomenon BTS—partnered with blockchain technology company Dunamu to launch Levvels Inc. Based out of Los Angeles, the company intends to connect fans with artists through Web3 and NFTs. Its upcoming project is Momentica, an online blockchain platform that will offer collectible assets related to K-pop groups Seventeen, fromis_9, Tomorrow X Together, Enhypen, and Le Sserafim. Its first collection, TAKE, will feature photos, videos, voice recordings and autographs.

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