Remote working isn’t going anywhere, and neither are investors. In fact, connecting with VCs could be easier than ever in an all-online setting.
Some venture capitalists are hesitant about meeting with entrepreneurs remotely — it’s much harder to get to know someone you’re investing in when you can’t meet face to face. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping most workers home, and a mass exodus of tech workers out of Silicon Valley, Zoom calls are a VC's only option.
In a recent tweet, Jason Calacanis, an angel investor who’s helped fund startups like Uber, Robinhood, and Calm, said that remote investing has considerable merits. His company, LAUNCH, connects early-stage startup founders with VCs. According to Calacanis, his fully remote team has seen an increase in productivity as operating costs go down.
Investing is now remote-first too.— balajis.com (@balajis) August 29, 2020
But how do you “build the relationship” if you can’t meet in person?
Well, investors are actually more accessible online. You can hang out with them on social networks and (sometimes) video games. No scheduling needed, way easier than coffee. https://t.co/qgWQ3bR2ke
Balaji S. Srinivasan, angel investor, former CTO of Coinbase, and former GP at Andreessen Horowitz, echoed Calacanis, saying in a tweet that investors are more accessible online. Srinivasan touted social media, and even gaming, as key ways to get VCs’ attention.
Still, investors and entrepreneurs have had to rely on different tactics when meeting remotely. In a recent Forbes report, investors gave advice to entrepreneurs on how to navigate the new arrangement. Make time in during calls for small talk, not just business talk. Video calls are better than phone calls for getting to know investors. Draw on your past (in-person) network when reaching out to VCs. Clarity and vision are more important than ever when pitching from a video screen. And don’t use COVID-19 as an excuse for any shortcomings.
In the thread, Calacanis brought up Pinterest’s $89.5 billion lease cancellation as a sign that Silicon Valley would be reshaped forever. The company had signed a deal for 490,000 square feet in a soon-to-be-constructed office complex near its San Francisco offices. While Pinterest still has four offices in the city, paying to cancel the lease indicates that remote work is a top priority for the company.
The pivot to entirely remote investing could be the new normal, as Silicon Valley workers leave for cheaper locales while offices are closed. Big tech companies, known for their unwillingness to abandon the office, are keeping workers home. Google doesn’t plan to open its offices until June 2021, and companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Square have informed their employees that they can work from home indefinitely.