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.
Markett's Franky Bernstein, in more social times.
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Watch: 'There's Nothing That Attackers Love More Than Chaos' – Working From Home Securely While in Lockdown
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.
Wendi Whitmore, Vice President, IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence
Wendi Whitmore, Vice President, IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence<p>Wendi Whitmore is a technical leader with almost 20 years of experience in incident response and data breach investigations. At IBM, Wendi was instrumental in creating IBM X-Force IRIS which includes the global X-Force Incident Response, Proactive Services, and Threat Intelligence practices. In her role, she leverages people, infrastructure, data and technology to drive the capabilities of detection and defense against targeted threats for global client organizations. Before joining IBM, Wendi held executive level positions at CrowdStrike and Mandiant, where she was responsible for professional services offerings. Wendi began her career as a Special Agent conducting computer crime investigations with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.</p>
Joshua Belk, CEH, Executive Director of the LA Cyber Lab
Joshua Belk, CEH, Executive Director of the LA Cyber Lab<p>Joshua Belk is currently the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Cyber Lab, a non-profit providing threat information to LA Business community. Joshua is a former CSO for the FBI, has held various information security leadership roles with Fortune 200 companies and recently returned from a year long deployment with the Joint Special Operations Command, as reserve US Naval officer. With over 20 years in the security industry, Joshua brings a unique public-private sector experience to any conversation.</p>
Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer, Tenable
Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer, Tenable<p>Satnam Narang serves as a Staff Research Engineer on Tenable's Security Response team, where he is responsible for providing technical analysis and remediation recommendations for critical vulnerabilities. Satnam is also a longtime expert on social media scams, conducting research into novel financial scams on <a href="https://www.tenable.com/blog/instagram-porn-bots-evolve-methods-for-peddling-adult-dating-spam" target="_blank">Instagram</a>, <a href="https://www.tenable.com/blog/tiktok-scams-how-popular-apps-and-services-become-new-havens-for-scammers" target="_blank">TikTok</a>, <a href="https://www.tenable.com/blog/scams-exploit-covid-19-giveaways-via-venmo-paypal-and-cash-app" target="_blank">Cash App</a> and more. Before joining Tenable, Satnam worked as Senior Security Response Manager at Symantec and Threat Analyst at M86 Security. He also contributed to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, helped develop a Social Networking Guide for the National Cyber Security Alliance, uncovered a huge spam botnet on Twitter and was the first to report on spam bots on Tinder. He has appeared on NBC Nightly News, Entertainment Tonight, Bloomberg West, and the Why Oh Why podcast.</p>
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