Category

Current Affairs

SBA PPP Loans Aren’t for Everyone

There’s a healthy debate going on right now at many VC firms about whether venture-backed companies should apply to the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program (The Information had a good article on this yesterday (paywall), and Albert Wenger from Union Square Ventures put up an excellent post on the subject here). This program is designed to help businesses struggling with the Covid-19 crisis retain employees and pay for critical infrastructure (specifically rent, mortgage and utilities). I wrote an OpEd piece for CNBC yesterday with Elizabeth Macbride that outlined a number of ways that the program, as currently implemented, is failing to reach many of the businesses it was intended to support. The program is complicated, being implemented through only a subset…

We’re Not Doing Enough to Help Small Businesses

Elizabeth Macbride and I wrote an OpEd piece that was posted on CNBC this morning addressing what we believe to be significant shortcomings of the CARES Act and the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Specifically how the stimulus is failing to meet the needs of small businesses around America in this time of crisis. This is urgent and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. I’d encourage you to click through to read the full piece, but below I’ve outlined the key recommendations we make at the end of the OpEd: 1. Set up individual loan funds Anticipating that the federal aid would roll out slowly, states, communities and foundations have set up their own loan funds, often with donations,…

Tips For Working from Home From The Foundry Network

Over the past week I’ve been gathering work-from-home tips from Foundry Group portfolio companies. Here are some of the best suggestions – from WFH veterans as well as some newbies quickly getting up to speed. I highlighted a few that I thought were particularly good ones. Work Space Create a dedicated work space distinct from high traffic or personal areas. Make sure that it’s uncluttered, professional and comfortable. You will also want to have good lighting and A/V accessories. If a dedicated space isn’t feasible, get creative and find some workable nook in your home where you’re comfortable and can focus. Listen to some music. If you’re in a lot of meetings this can be hard, but try to squeeze…

CO #COVID-19 Talent Network

With so many jobs being lost to the COVID-19 crisis a group of us thought it would be helpful to put together a talent network to help support those looking for work during this challenging time. We know there are companies out there hiring, and that includes tech companies. The Colorado #Covid19 Startup Talent Network provides job seekers access to upload their profile information and job skills. It also allows companies to search for talent and sort on various job criteria. Please share this network so we can get the word out. You can use this bitl.ly shortlink for ease: bit.ly/COCovid19StartupTalent. You can also quickly share through social media with this ClickToTweet link: https://ctt.ac/fbncf A few thoughts as we launch…

Job hunting in the midst of a crisis

My posts last week (which included predictions of pending lay-offs at technology businesses) prompted a number of people to reach out and ask a variant of the question: “How can I find a job in the middle of a shutdown/meltdown?”. I don’t know that I have a great answer to that but I thought I’d take a stab at it with the hope that some of these ideas will be at least somewhat helpful to those that find themselves in the position of being out of work during this crisis. TBC, while we’ve already seen a number of layoffs, I think there unfortunately are many more coming. Early lay-offs were widespread in the hospitality, travel and related industries. We’re just…

3/19/2020 Thoughts

I had a few things on my mind related to the startup environment right now as it relates to Covid-19 and the massive market disruption that we’re in the middle of. It’s a struggle to get them all sorted out in my mind so apologies in advance if these are a little disjointed. As you can imagine we’ve been having conversations all week across the Foundry portfolio (which includes not just companies but also our ~ 35 fund investments; between those we have look-through into a few thousand companies). With that, here are some general observations on the market as well as a few things specific to startup companies (relevant across stages). We’re still in the quiet before the storm…

Decision making in uncertain times

Making decisions for your business can be hard even in normal circumstances. Right now, in this time of great uncertainty and high emotional stress it’s even harder. I’m on countless calls a day now where I’m trying to talk through with people in our universe (CEOs, GPs of other funds, fellow board members, etc.) critical decisions that in many cases will define the future for the businesses involved. How to react in a time like this is complicated and in most cases is not obvious. Just how bad things may get is unknown, as is how long this will last and what effect that will have on various business sectors and on specifics businesses is unclear. Below are a few…

Dealing with evolving information about Covid-19

Humans are, as a general rule, poor at changing their minds once they’ve developed a view about something. This can be the cause of plenty of arguments and I suspect is a significant reason we’ve become so much more polarized as a country in recent decades (that, and it’s ancillary effect of causing us to seek out only information and data that  support our unbending view). But in the case of dealing with a pandemic like Covid-19 it can be downright dangerous. I thought it would be helpful – perhaps even important – to talk about why being open to new and evolving information is so critically important in a time when what we know about Covid-19 is changing so rapidly….

Social distancing vs social isolation

I took a poll of the Foundry portfolio this morning to check in on the shift to Work From Home. As of today, about 1/3 of our portfolio companies have implemented a mandatory work from home policy. The vast majority of the rest are recommending people work from home but are not mandating it (meaning they’re not physically closing their offices). Only a couple are still operating with their offices fully operational. We’re living in unprecedented times. Children are out of school. We’re shifting work patterns. Many of us have parents, partners or others that we’re close to who are immune-compromised or in some other class of person who is at higher risk for Covid-19. It’s a time of great…

Polar Bears!

Kaktovik lies at the far northern edge of Alaska’s North Slope region, about 640 miles north of Anchorage (and almost 400 north of Fairbanks). Located on Barter Island and due to its location, is mostly cut off from the rest of the world. Everything – fuel, supplies, infrastructure, needs to be brought in either by plane (to a small, gravel, landing strip) or by barge – of which there are between 1 and 3 a season. It’s just about the farthest northern town in America (Utqiagvik, which used to be called Barrow, is slightly north of Kaktovik). During the winter, the sun doesn’t rise for 2 months. Despite this isolation – or perhaps because of it – Kaktovik is considered…