An Unpredictable Reopening In Venture Capital

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2021-09-25 03:00:02

In the inconsequential world of venture capital, the past few weeks have been illuminating and unpredictable, with a particular focus on the human dimension.

Folks reading this likely are in-tune with the realities of today’s markets — we all know technology and startups are attracting more capital, we all know there is more capital entering the sector, we all know the sector itself is expanding globally, and we all know that the past two years of public offerings and market expansion has created wealth for those holding tech stocks, including venture investors and their limited partners.

More specific to early-stage tech investing, that market has moved to Zoom/video, combined with an influx of angels, syndicates, new funds, and others providing capital to creators. To many VCs, this new mode can feel great, more efficient, a wider aperture — it can also feel faster, more transactional, and as a result, potentially less rewarding. Put another way, wallets can grow inversely with personal fulfillment.

It’s easy to cast recent news as typical turnover in a dynamic industry. That would be too easy and miss deeper seismic shifts under our feet. It’s the fall of 2021. We are supposed to be fully open and over the pandemic, but the pandemic is still here. Parts of the country are fully open, other parts are sort of open. Even the most dysfunctional public school districts are back in class with kids (thank heavens!), but we are just weeks away from district-by-district debates about vaccine mandates for students. While we are re-opening to a new world, we are all realizing that, over the past 18 months, some of our best friends, neighbors, teachers, or favorite stores have moved — some voluntarily, many non-voluntarily. During that time, a mixture of West Coast soot and/or Gulf Coast rains invaded our air supply, adding to other aerosols floating around like disinformation or deadly mutations. If this wasn’t enough, the next Presidential Election will begin earlier than previous campaigns, setup to be an epic clash with big bumps along the way.

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