VC Josh Stein talks power dynamics: ‘I don’t think this has been a mustache-twisting moment for investors’

Josh Stein has been an investor for the past 16 years, joining the firm DFJ as a young operator, rising through its ranks, and ultimately, along with fellow managing director Emily Melton, becoming the most senior member of the firm, which was last year renamed Threshold Ventures.

Stein, a Box board member for the past 14 years, has always focused primarily on enterprise companies and helps out with a number of companies at Threshold, including Doximity (an online networking service for medical professionals), Rippling (HR) and Front (which makes tools for sharing inboxes with teammates), among others.

When we caught up with Stein this week, we wanted to talk more broadly about the venture industry, four months after much of the U.S. shut down due to the pandemic. We zipped through everything from his current investing pace to a possible liquidity crunch to the zany public markets. Our chat has been edited lightly.

TechCrunch: A lot of very nascent companies are getting funded. Is that because, whether or not VCs have met the founders, they see seed-stage startups as lower risk?

Josh Stein: It’s a trap, thinking that smaller checks are lower risk. They still require a lot of time — even more in some cases.

We’re four months into this pandemic in the U.S. Do you think the impacts of COVID are becoming clearer?