Doing deals through Zoom? These investors have some tips

For now, no more dealmaking over boozy dinners at The Battery or in South Park coffee shops

Investors are turning to remote-only meetings to combat COVID-19, which was officially declared a pandemic yesterday.

The novel coronavirus is already spreading via community contact in the Bay Area; an employee of South Park Cafe, a popular hub for techies and venture capitalists run by the credit card startup Brex, tested positive this week. The spot is a few hundred feet from a number of high-profile venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins.

But for many remote-friendly venture capitalists, making deals remotely is business as usual. We caught up with a few investors to learn how they make virtual dealmaking work for them, including its impact on their deal flow and portfolio diversity.

Founding partner of the W Fund Kate Brodock warned investors to not “devalue the process.”

“In-person is always ideal, but video still allows you to get a close-to-complete sense of the person in front of you — everything from facial expressions to body language to how they organize their desk,” Brodock said. “Making meaningful and informative connections through video is entirely possible.”

Turner Novak, a general partner at Gelt VC, has opted for a remote-friendly investment cadence since day one. He invests out of Ann Arbor, Mich.