The coronavirus pandemic has pushed entrepreneurs and investors into unknown territory.
Google’s GV just led a $10 million investment in Universe, a low-friction website builder that’s venturing into the world of commerce.
The investment was in the works before COVID-19 hit America in force, but things were finalized for the Brooklyn startup in late March. I chatted with M.G. Siegler, the general partner at GV (and former TechCrunch writer) who led the deal, about how the crisis was affecting his investment work and how he was balancing portfolio work with sourcing new deals.
This interview has edited for length and clarity.
TechCrunch: This deal sounds like it was in the works before pandemic concerns really hit America, but when you saw this situation arise, did it change your thinking about this deal at all?
M.G. Siegler: The reality is we’re still going to be continuing to look for interesting opportunities to invest in. History has shown that even during great financial turmoil, many companies are still being built, although it’s certainly not easy for anyone, given that we’re all stuck inside and trying to make things work. I think Universe is in an interesting spot; they have a tool that can potentially help some of these struggling businesses move online quicker and create commerce opportunities that they really need to think about given the current realities.
So there’s no thought that we shouldn’t do something just because of the current macro environment if we’re really passionate about it to begin with. Obviously, there’s varying degrees of that for different sectors, but I do think that Universe had been in a great position before this situation, and it seems like they have different opportunities now.