Coronavirus Updates: Why Smaller Venture Funds Are in Danger
Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.
- More than 900,000 L.A. County Residents Jobless as Local Unemployment Hits 20%
- Why Smaller Venture Funds are in Danger as the COVID-19 Pandemic Churns on
More than 900,000 L.A. County Residents Jobless as Local Unemployment Hits 20%c1.staticflickr.com
The unemployment rate in Los Angeles County hit near 20% last month, a staggering figure that put into question the ability of the region to bounce back from the pandemic-induced economic free fall.
More than 900,000 Los Angeles County residents didn't have a job in April as the prolonged stay-at-home order closed retail shops, stopped factory lines and halted Hollywood. The downturn is the largest on record in California.
"We are dealing with Depression Era unemployment," Gov. Gavin Newsom who is facing a $54 billion state deficit told PBS News Hour. "The numbers that come out publicly are lagging. And the reality is that we are north of 25% (unemployment) in California."
California is looking to stem the economic devastation as it pushes to reopen the economy. On Monday, Newsom is expected to outline plans to restart film and television production, although it's unclear if it will resume in Los Angeles. It comes as local stores have reopened for curbside pick-up and traffic along freeways has begun to pick up.
Statewide unemployment for April was 15.5%, according to employment data taken from a federal sample survey of households that provides a more complete picture of job loss by also including individuals that may not have filed unemployment claims. In the county, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 19.6%.
According to the figures - seasonally adjusted - about 931,000 people in Los Angeles County were without a job in April, upending the state's previous low unemployment.
Not one industry reported job gains during the month. Among the hardest hit sectors were retail, restaurants, tourism and manufacturing, according to a second survey of 145,000 California businesses that gives a further breakdown of how the devastation has played out in each industry from tourism to retail to finance.
Leisure and hospitality, like restaurants and amusement parks, accounted for more than a quarter of the county-wide job losses with employment down 38 percent from the previous month.
Why Smaller Venture Funds are in Danger as the COVID-19 Pandemic Churns on
Big venture capital funds are continuing to close with success while smaller ones — of which there are many in Los Angeles — are having more difficulty, according to a new research report from Pitchbook.
"Across private market strategies, this will push the balance even further toward the mega-funds that have been garnering such a large proportion of LP commitment dollars," wrote senior analyst Hilary Wiek. "Funds that have had a first closing and begun investing may have a difficult time with further fundraising if future investors are expected to buy in at cost on investments that now need to be written down. LPs appear to be pondering their commitment pacing this year, with many choosing to slow the pace at least somewhat."
Pitchbook says many LPs are holding quarterly meetings this month with their investment committees to discuss future allocations. So far at least, few LPs have defaulted but they have slowed down in their commitments. -Ben Bergman
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Andrew Peterson<p>Andrew Peterson is the co-founder and former chief executive of Signal Sciences, a web application security platform that he founded in 2014 and <a href="https://dot.la/signal-science-snapped-up-for-775m-in-big-l-a-saas-exit-2647256430.html" target="_self">was acquired in 2020 by Fastly in a $775 million deal</a>. Signal Sciences protects web applications from attacks and data breaches for clients like Duo Security, Under Armor and DoorDash.</p><p>Prior to starting Signal Sciences, Peterson worked at Etsy, helping the online marketplace with international growth as a group project manager. Etsy <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/3056900/how-three-ex-etsy-employees-turned-their-old-employer-into-a-consumer" target="_blank">reportedly became </a>one of Signal Sciences's first customers. Peterson has also served stints as health information management officer at the Clinton Foundation and as a senior product specialist at Google.</p>
Ara Mahdessian<p>Ara Mahdessian is the co-founder of ServiceTitan, a SaaS product for managing a home services business.</p><p>The inspiration for ServiceTitan, Mahdessian's first company, came from watching his parents start their own businesses in building and plumbing, only to struggle with the logistics behind keeping them running, he <a href="https://www.inc.com/magazine/201906/emily-canal/servicetitan-immigrant-inclusion-diversity-best-workplaces-2019.html" target="_blank">told Inc in 2019</a>. Mahdessian and his co-founder Vahe Kuzoyan met while in college, and worked on several consulting projects before starting ServiceTitan, in hopes of aiding small business owners like their parents.</p>
Evan Spiegel<p>Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Snap Inc., the Venice-based company known for its app Snapchat. He's also one of the youngest billionaires in the world, launching Snapchat while still an undergraduate at Stanford. </p><p>SnapChat, the company's app, has recently been taking on rival TikTok <a href="https://dot.la/snap-spotlight-2649022645.html" data-linked-post="2649022645" target="_blank">with a new feature</a> and a program meant to attract creators to its platform. And it is been at the center of a larger national debate on the power of big tech. </p>
Spencer Rascoff<p>Spencer Rascoff is the founder of several companies, including dot.LA. He started his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, later leaving to co-found travel website Hotwire. After serving as vice president of lodging at Expedia, he went on to found Zillow, an online real estate marketplace that went public in 2011.</p><p>Rascoff's most recent project is Pacaso, a marketplace for buying, selling and co-owning a second home.</p>
Tim Ellis<p>Tim Ellis is the co-founder and chief executive of Relativity Space, an autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader for satellite constellations. He is the youngest member on the National Space Council Users Advisory Group and serves on the World Economic Forum as a "technology pioneer."</p><p>Before founding Relativity Space, Ellis studied aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California and interned at Masten Space Systems and Blue Origin, where he worked after graduation. He was a propulsion engineer and brought metal 3D printing in-house to the company.</p>
Travis Schneider<p>Travis Schneider is the co-founder and co-chief executive of PatientPop, a practice growth platform for healthcare providers. He founded the company with Luke Kervin in 2014. <br><br>The two have founded three companies together, including ShopNation, a fashion shopping engine that was later acquired by the Meredith Commerce Network.</p>
Luke Kervin<p>Luke Kervin is the other co-founder and co-chief of PatientPop. He is a serial entrepreneur — his first venture was Starbrand Media, which was acquired by Popsugar in May 2008. <br><br>Kervin and Schneider then founded ShopNation, and when it was acquired in 2012, Kervin served as the general manager and vice president at the Meredith Commerce Network for a few years before leaving to found PatientPop.</p><p>Kervin had the idea for PatientPop when he and his wife were expecting their first child, he told <a href="http://voyagela.com/interview/meet-luke-kervin-patientpop-santa-monica/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">VoyageLA</a>. They were frustrated with how the healthcare system wasn't focused on the consumers it was meant to serve. So in 2014, he and Schneider created PatientPop.</p>
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