The global health crisis that has arisen due to COVID-19 has set much of modern life on its head. Beyond health concerns, there is perhaps nowhere where this is more apparent than in the business world. While businesses across the globe assess the damage of the economic uncertainty that has accompanied this outbreak, many leaders are looking for a path forward. As a leading venture capitalist firm, Shasta Ventures is well-placed to offer some insights and other resources during this trying time. We’ve provided an overview of the company and its insights to help readers benefit from these efforts.
About Shasta Ventures
Shasta Ventures was founded in 2004 as a venture capital firm that prioritizes partnering with bold and creative entrepreneurs. The company seeks out business heads who are passionate about the work that they do and who seek to build epic products that can profoundly impact the face of modern business. The firm typically seeks to invest in seed and series A companies while also reserving funds for needs that may materialize down the line. This allows the firm’s financing to grow alongside the companies that it backs. This strategy also incorporates a highly selective decision-making process, with the venture capital firm typically investing in only 8-10 startups per year.
The firm’s overall focus is in Smart Software that caters to enterprise B2B platforms. Much of its portfolio centers on companies that utilize unique sources of data that help companies improve their outcomes through the use of insights driven by that data. The company views the unique relationships it builds with entrepreneurs as key components of its success. These partnerships form the heart of its business and are part of the reason why it works with only a small number of companies at a time. Through this model, the firm is able to concentrate more of its efforts on the companies in its portfolio, providing entrepreneurs with guidance and other resources that can help to maximize their chances for success.
Much of the venture capital firm’s expertise comes from the insights of its leaders. These leaders represent a diverse swath of the business world and each brings a unique ability to advise and inform on different issues. This is especially relevant in the current economic climate, where uncertain future prospects are prompting many to turn to those with experience in past downturns. With a team of leaders that have collectively weathered the recessions of 2001 and 2008 with a range of companies, the firm is well-placed to provide a level of support during these difficult times.
Ravi Mohan is one such leader whose example can showcase the level of experience on the Shasta Ventures team. As a Managing Director and Co-Founder, Mohan plays an integral role in guiding the company’s strategy for its own investments. Not only did he help usher the company through the economic crisis of 2008, but he’s also been a key partner for many of the companies in the firm’s portfolio. With a career-long focus on the software industry, he’s known for his work with passionate entrepreneurs who are seeking to harness the next generation of software development to contribute to the greater good.
Virtual Town Hall
Thanks to the experience of Mohan and others on the leadership team, the firm possesses a depth of expertise that it can lend to others to help them stay afloat and even thrive during current economic troubles. That expertise has been on full display in the immediate weeks after the development of this global health risk, with the firm’s leadership team stepping up with a high volume of calls and video conferences to companies in its portfolio. These communications have helped provide guidance to those who may not have experience in this area.
To broaden the benefit of that experience to others, the company recently set up a virtual town hall on the topic of “Managing your startup in uncertain times.” Hosted and moderated by Mohan, the town hall centered on sharing insights from the 2001 and 2008 economic downturns and extrapolating on the lessons that could be drawn from each. In recognition of the unique nature of any individual company’s plans, the event was not designed to provide a one-size-fits-all approach to the downturn. Rather, it centered on helping companies develop their own strategies for achieving success according to the needs and strengths of their organization.
In addition to the town hall, a Shasta Ventures Partner, Isaac Roth, has contributed to the discussion by providing written insights on what company heads may want to consider when formulating a path forward. With a wealth of experience drawn from navigating the 2008 financial crisis, Roth talks about the need for businesses to make a full and honest assessment of the factors that may contribute to their ability to stay afloat.
Part of this assessment centers on a look at customers and how their needs may evolve in the immediate future. Roth poses a number of questions concerning topics of customer finances and how a customer’s own business difficulties may require them to make choices about the products and services they utilize. For instance, he encourages company heads to evaluate if a reduction in price may help them maintain a stronger customer base, or if a pivot to other business directives might better serve their customer base moving forward. Like the town hall, these insights are not broadly applicable to all companies, but do help to provide a jumping-off point for formulating a path forward.
Since the fallout from COVID-19 is still in its early stages, it is impossible to predict with 100% accuracy how it will affect the world moving forward. That said, looking to those with experience with past economic downturns can be a helpful strategy for those attempting to predict how this downturn may evolve in the near future. Insights emerging from Shasta Ventures, aided by its team’s experience with past recessions, can be a helpful tool for business leaders seeking to build a plan of action. Look to those resources, and other insights by the company, to better equip you in your own business endeavors.