Friday Letter: Pandemic is already changing how investors work

More good and bad news about the WFH lifestyle has some in the VC community enjoying not traveling while others fear the worst.

Last week, I wrote about the work-from-home condition we all find ourselves in and how those in the VC community are adjusting.

I received some positive feedback about the Friday Letter and I want to thank all of you, dear readers, for clicking on the story and for sending me notes.

The WFH lifestyle was still on my mind this week as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that many of the company’s 4,900 employees may continue working from home for as long as they want.

Other tech companies are allowing the WFH, too, but not permanently and even after the covid-19 pandemic has eased up, like Dorsey said.

I talked about the advantage of WFH this week with an investor relations contact at a San Francisco firm, who told me she is enjoying the WFH lifestyle. In particular, she said she enjoys not traveling around the country so much.

Certainly, WFH has its advantages.

And of course there are the negatives.

In my story this week on Midwest investing I spoke with Greg Robinson of 4490 Ventures in Madison, Wisconsin. Robinson said the firm has a term sheet out and expects to wrap up another deal in the next 60-90 days. The two investments were in the queue prior to the pandemic escalating.

So how is Robinson adjusting to WFH?

“We’re having discussions within the firm on investing in a completely remote world,” he told me. “Frankly, I don’t know how that will look just yet.

Venture Capital Journal reporter Marina Temkin also covered that topic this week when she wrote about the social distancing meetings investors are having to help them get to know people outside of all the virtual Zoom calls.

And of course there is another negative to WFH. I also spoke this week with a representative of a public pension who has some exposure to VC, but invests in a lot of real estate. As start-ups pull out of their leases in the market downturn, he says a lot of real estate managers are fearing the worst.

The LP is also concerned that once start-ups are allowed to return to physical offices, many will choose to keep the WFH policies in place because of social distancing rules and there won’t be any way to work in a confined office setting.

This is broadly a topic our colleagues at PERE have also covered, including how commercial real estate transactions in the US are falling apart.

As Robinson tells me, we should have a better understanding of how all investors are dealing with the new normal by the end of Q2.

Let me know what you think. What are your thoughts on how the work world is changing? 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.