Friday Letter: It’s been a busy year of change

One year into the pandemic, OMERS Ventures releases its survey findings of how covid-19 has impacted their attitudes to investing. Suffice it to say that virtual meetings are likely to remain.

Years ago, I read a news item about research from the University of Chicago that concluded the secret to happiness is keeping busy.

I’ve since come to learn there is a Japanese term called ikigai (pronounced aki-gay-aai) that is used to describe a busy life having meaning. It’s why we get up in the morning.

I’ve thought about this a lot in recent weeks as we mark the one-year anniversary of the start of pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders that came along with it. In the past year, as I’ve talked with GPs and LPs in the venture community, a hectic pace of busyness has been a common refrain.

In fact, nearly everyone I speak with says they’re as busy or even busier under pandemic life than they ever were before. Truly, it seems no one has had idle hands in the past year. And, as I report in our latest cover story, the new normal of working from home and stacking virtual meetings back-to-back has made everyone’s daily schedule feel more efficient. It has also kept everyone in the venture business busier than they ever have been.

But are they happy?

OMERS Ventures has an answer to that question.

This week, the pension revealed the results of its follow-up study of how folks in VC are getting deals done one year into the pandemic. This follows a similar study by the institution last year (you can check out my report on that by clicking here).

The latest results show:

  • In January 2021, 97 percent of firms surveyed said they had completed a fully remote deal. This compared with 40 percent in June 2020.
  • The majority – 73 percent – of VCs plan to continue to conduct most of their founder meetings virtually.
  • Some 67 percent of VCs reported being happier in their careers now, though by and large they pointed to spending less time traveling.

OMERS surveyed 90 venture firms across North America and Europe. It’s a small sample, I realize, but it gels a lot with what I hear from most VCs and LPs, who love not spending a couple of days traveling for one meeting but who can now conduct three virtual meetings in an afternoon.

You can learn more about the study in this Medium post by OMERS associate Alyssa Spagnolo.

As Spagnolo writes: “While we are all eager to return to some parts of our normal lives, it is clear the pandemic has significantly altered the way we work, and is likely to result in new deal processes for some time to come.”

People dread idleness, and the virtual lifestyle or a hybrid of virtual and in-person meetings is likely to be what the VC community needs to keep busy and stay happy.

On the subject of getting back to work post-pandemic, let me know what you think. You can drop me a note at agoldfisher@buyoutsinsider.com.