On May 5, Tonkon Torp hosted a webinar focused on how investors are responding to the pandemic, and how emerging companies can find capital in this unpredictable environment. The webinar was moderated by Brenda Meltebeke, Chair of Tonkon Torp’s Entrepreneurial Services Practice Group. The panel featured industry leaders Matt Compton, General Partner of the Oregon Venture Fund, Julie Harrelson, Managing Director of the Cascade Seed Fund, and Tom Kingsley, a noted Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, and Startup Consultant.
In a segment looking at financing trends for early to late stage companies, the speakers agreed that valuation is down and activity is currently focused on existing portfolio companies. However, they stressed that there are still categories in which a company can gain traction in this environment even if the runway needs to be longer than it has been in recent years. The panelists also emphasized that emerging companies who haven’t yet gone to market can use this time to build and really test their value proposition. For those with a live product, there is an opportunity to pivot and accelerate features that will work better in this environment. While sharing ways that portfolio companies are building strength during this time, the panelists noted cash flow preservation, empathic communication, and bolstering business practices.
The program concluded with a look ahead, and the investors noted that in some ways the pandemic hasn’t changed the industry since the startup landscape is always changing. The consensus about what the next year might bring is that while all are watching the landscape closely for changes, they continue to look for opportunities and talk with companies.
Tonkon Torp has published a COVID-19 Business Resource digest that is continually refreshed with alerts that touch on a broad range of corporate topics.