LA VCs Hosted Their First Party in 14 Months. Here's What It Was Like Inside

LA VCs Hosted Their First Party in 14 Months. Here's What It Was Like Inside

After enduring nearly 14 months of Zoom meetings, phone calls and socially distant walks, Los Angeles venture capitalists held their first major in-person party Thursday night at an expansive estate in Beverly Hills.


The approximately 50 guests had their temperatures checked at the entrance and could choose to affix a bright "I Got Vaccinated" sticker to their wardrobe, which most did.

Elbow bumps replaced handshakes and everything took place outside on an overcast and unusually cool night. But otherwise, the occasion seemed remarkably normal – with only servers, bartenders and valets wearing masks.

"We felt like it was the right time," said Derek Norton, managing general partner of Watertower Ventures, the early stage fund that hosted the event. "We definitely wanted to be on the forefront and be the first to get everybody back, because this is a community and it's a community of friends that are investors and collaborators."

"We felt like it was the right time," said Derek Norton, managing general partner of Watertower Ventures, the early stage fund that hosted the event.

Guests sipped on Aperol spritzes and wolfed down freshly baked margarita pizza from Toscana – the theme of the evening was "A Taste of Italy."

"Since most of us won't be traveling to Europe this summer, we thought we'd bring Italy here," Norton explained.

The crowd included a who's who of the L.A. venture scene, including Bonfire's Mark Mullen, Crosscut's Brian Garrett, MaC VC's Marlon Nichols, East West Ventures' Jaeson Ma, TenOneTen's Minnie Ingersoll, Watertower's Jeremy Milken and Science Inc's Peter Pham, who bounced from group to group wearing silent disco headphones and sipping on the Liquid Death canned water he incubated.

Guests sipped on aperol spritzes and wolfed down freshly baked margarita pizza from Toscana – the theme of the evening was "A Taste of Italy."

The mood seemed positively giddy, thanks to a welcome return to normalcy and the fact that for all the hardship of the past year these have been heady times for tech – with record amounts of deals, new unicorns crowned and IPO's popping off seemingly every week.

More than one VC remarked that they have never seen such a crazy time in the industry, with even the most far-fetched of business plans able to secure gobs of capital.

For all of the pleasantries and talk about how kids were doing, the event was far by no means purely social. This is an industry after all with no shortage of extraverts which normally revolves around schmoozing and handshakes.

"There are definitely deals and business being talked about tonight," said Norton. "We have tons of stuff to catch up on."

Los Angeles County had reached the least-restrictive "yellow tier" the day before, allowing bars to reopen and indoor stores to increase their capacity. Still, COVID remains a threat; an average 63 people in the county are dying each day.

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