Viewpoints

Navin Chaddha Shares Perspective on COVID-19 Impact to Enterprise Startups and Investing


June 9, 2020 – This is an excerpt from a recent survey published in TechCrunch’s Extra Crunch. For the full article, please see here.

With the pandemic having such a huge impact on the economy, how has this changed your investment approach and the types of companies you are more likely to invest in?

On the enterprise side, it has not changed our POV that much as we still believe that drivers such as cloud-native, AI enabled, edge computing, cybersecurity, robotics automation and remote work will thrive. We have elevated our focus on biology as technology which will create companies that improve human and planetary health.

With remote work culture accelerating the rise of ecommerce, we plan to invest in trusted commerce platforms. Some examples from our portfolio that are thriving include fashion marketplace Poshmark’s inventory-less model and Grove Collaborative’s subscription commerce platform for sustainable products. We are looking for more kinds of companies like these.

How has COVID-19 impacted the enterprise startups in your portfolio operationally and how are you helping them navigate this landscape? How has it changed their approach?

We have worked hard to ensure that our companies have two years of runway and that they are taking the necessary steps to right size their workforce and have realistic revenue expectations and adjust their cost structure accordingly. We have asked them to focus on renewals and upsells to existing customers first before they focus on acquiring new customers. Having navigated prior downturns, it helps that we have a playbook to offer entrepreneurs, especially first time CEOs, who have never seen tough times.

How much has the amount of investor input in startup operations changed in the face of the pandemic? Are you giving more advice, less or about the same?

We are definitely spending more time with our teams, both because we want to make sure to over communicate during uncertain times, and also because you have to work harder to make sure the remote mode delivers as much accessibility as the in-person mode used to.