Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.
This morning we’re looking at what venture capitalists got up to in the first quarter of the year and how they are really responding to the current global crisis.
It’s easy to find mixed signals on Twitter, with some VCs noting that they have slowed their investing cadence or tightened criteria as the markets shed value. Others claim to be as active as before. Founders are reporting new, higher standards that private capital deals now appear to require. TechCrunch compiled a number of reports from entrepreneurs which described an either slowed, more conservative or utterly frozen venture capital scene.
It seems very likely, then, that the United States’ venture capital results for Q1 will be somewhat weak. The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, may show up more acutely in Q2 2020. Why? Because venture data is famously — and annoyingly — laggy. Rounds are announced weeks or months after they are completed, and the timing of their announcements is impacted by news cycles.
So what we see in Q1 2020 venture data will contain deals that took place in the latter days of 2019; Q2 2020 data, in contrast, will feature mostly 2020 deals and will include a reporting period in which a lot of later Q1 deals would have been completed. This does not mean that there’s no use in looking at Q1 results — we’re looking for early signals, not complete answers in the data.
So let’s dig up what information we can on our own, mix in some data from other reports and see what the tea leaves are saying about Q1 venture results so far.