When Jessica Toh, co-founder and CEO of Huckleberry Labs, was pitching a venture capital investor recently – via Zoom video naturally – Toh glanced at her computer screen and worried something seemed off.

"The other person looked so still," she said. "I thought she was frozen."

Toh was forced to make a split second decision. Should she pause and see if something was wrong or keep going as if nothing was amiss? She opted to plow ahead with the presentation she had delivered hundreds of times for her app that helps monitor the sleep patterns of babies, but it was hard to concentrate when she thought she might be speaking to herself.

"What I didn't realize is how that was coming across in the way I was talking," she said. "It turned out the investor wasn't frozen but just was really still."

Toh did not receive the check. And, when she asked for feedback, was told she did not come across as passionate about what she was building. "That was a shock because everyone else can see how passionate I am," said Toh. "I realized when it's over Zoom it's so hard to have that personal engagement and things come across in a different way."

Toh's experience illustrates the pitfalls of fundraising in the COVID-19 era. After a decade of ever rising valuations put founders in the driver's seat, everything suddenly changed in March when investors literally locked their doors and retreated to triaging their existing portfolio.

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Our new video interview series dot.LA Dives In seeks to delve beneath the surface of the Los Angeles tech and startup scene. The plan is simple: Shine a light on the innovation in L.A.'s tech and startup community by sharing perspectives straight from the change-makers themselves. The first installment is with Miki Reynolds, the executive director and co-founder of Grid110, an economic and community development nonprofit dedicated to creating clearer pathways to success for early-stage entrepreneurs in Los Angeles.

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Since the pandemic hit the U.S. hard in March, there has been a 6,000% increase in spam campaigns, with a particular focus around the keywords "COVID-19" and "coronavirus."

That's according to Wendi Whitmore, the vice president for IBM's X-Force Threat Intelligence, who spoke to dot.LA as part of a virtual panel on Tuesday.

It's been two months now — depending where you live — of working from home. As many businesses now contend with the reality of having their workforce at home for the foreseeable future, or even for the rest of their working lives (see: Twitter), cybersecurity has become a larger challenge, experts told dot.LA Tuesday.

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