Friday Letter: No rush in return to office for VCs

VCs are known for innovating and their first-mover mindset. That doesn't come into play when dealing with quarantine life.

My editor colleague Carl Ayers at our affiliate publication Regulatory Compliance Watch wrote a story this week about how a registered investment advisor in Atlanta is sketching out a plan to return to the office.

I wondered if any firms here in Silicon Valley were at that point yet.

I asked a few investors when they think they’ll return to the office setting and if they were starting to plan out their steps. No one answered in the affirmative. The notion of working again in the office is months away. At best.

As one firm said to me when I asked if they were hatching a plan to return: this is not the time to be a first-mover.

Foundation Capital, however, included in their newsletter this week a resource guide on open matters to consider when  taking the steps to reopen your office.

We all want life to return to normal, or at least veer in that direction. I’ll go on record and say I, too, would love to meet up with investors for coffee or attend a conference. I miss those. Of course, I am aware that there is a pandemic and a lot of people in the US and the world are out of work and are trying their best to stay safe and keep a positive outlook during the covid-19 outbreak.

And it’s incredible how much work we’re all getting done. I keep hearing examples and anecdotes from investors on the efficiency of Zoom calls, and how investors are taking care of deals, managing their portfolios and meeting each other virtually or in other creative ways.

But I was thinking about office life this week and how attending conferences and dinners is a thing of the past. It was late February when I last went to a work-related dinner at The Battery in San Francisco for an event put on by Merus Capital. We talked about the virus and whether we should start “shaking hands” with our elbows or feet. Wearing a mask wasn’t even brought up.

Then this past week, I talked to investors and the company Run the World, which operates a platform to organize and produce conferences online. The company raised its Series A round virtually, they told me.

I talked to founder Xiaoyin Qu twice before on the phone in February and via email, but we chatted in a Google Hangout this week, and she said she was delighted to finally “meet me in person” online.

The coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon, and the news is still troubling, depending on where in the world you are located and what hotspots are near you.

But as far as returning to the office, well, work is still getting done, and that looks to be okay for many investors and people like Qu.

In our chat this week, she told me she’s happy she doesn’t have to rush around and take five or six Uber rides a day to meet people. We did that instead online.

Let me know what you think. What are your thoughts on returning to the office? If you have news or views you’d like to share with me, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at agoldfisher@buyoutsinsider.com and I’m open to voice and video calls.

Update: The above post was updated to include the resource guide from Foundation Capital.