wjr business beat

WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Venture Capital Investment Goes Virtual (Episode 76)

On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff shares the new normal in venture capital: investing in a startup without ever meeting its founders in person.

Version One Ventures, led by Boris Wertz and Angela Tran, just invested a $2 million seed round, and the entire transaction was executed online from start to finish without a single in-person meeting.

Listen to this morning’s segment, as Jeff discusses this sign of the changing times:

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WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul. They are indeed changing, and as another sign of those changing times, the first ever major venture capital investment has been reported, a total investment of $2 million, no less, without a single in-person meeting between the investors and the founders.

Now, why is this important? That by the way, being reported by Geek Wire, perfect magazine for you and me.

Uh, yes, indeed.

Indeed, Paul, good weekend reading.

Now, why is this significant? You would never hear of a venture capital firm leading a round without meeting with many times, by the way, meeting many times with the founders of this team, because in the end, it’s more about the team as Bo Schembechler said in his legendary statement to his team, it’s more about the team than anything else.

Well, now the firm is Version One Ventures led by Boris Wertz and Angela Tran.

They’re saying it’s the new normal, again their investment was $2 million into this particular company. And in fact, the entire transaction was executed online from start to finish without a single in-person meeting.

They used Zoom video for online meetings, they used Dropbox for hosting key documents, such as the business plan, the financial projections and other supporting materials, and they used DocuSign to conduct the transaction from a legal execution standpoint.

Now, Wertz did comment that it’s harder to get a sense of confidence when only meeting the founders online, but after going through the process, he’s saying now it’s their firm’s new normal, and will likely become part of the new normal for all of the entire venture capital industry.

Now, I’m a big believer that the challenges and negatives associated with the COVID-crisis, you know, all those are obvious, the challenges and the negatives, the impact on business long term is going to include many positives, and positives that could only have happened with a major crisis like this. There’s so much legacy activity and routine and systems involved in business that we’ve been doing just because it’s the way it’s supposed to be done, but because of this crisis, so much change has been forced. And many of it, as I said, will be positive, like increased efficiency and productivity in the way we do business.

So, here’s another sign of the changing times and other signs of the new normal. This one I know is here to stay, as well.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat, brought to you today by Dell Technologies on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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