Together with our friend and mentor Tom Hockaday, a veteran of technology transfer and the author of “University Technology Transfer: What It Is and How to Do It” JHUP 2020, we drafted a short guide for investors and start-ups to deal with the emergency and many of its possible negative consequences.
We do not mean to reveal the ultimate truth; we just hope we can share our experience and give a little contribution to the community of innovation and entrepreneurship that many of us daily strive to create and nurture.
These are really basic points. A quick checklist that should inspire actions and reflections. Please feel free to comment and spread it, should you believe others can benefit from it.
Of course, fund managers are not immune to this Coronavirus and all the impact that it is creating. Many of these points below will be relevant to the fund management team and business.
PROGRESS TECH TRANSFER TEN POINTS
FOR INVESTORS AND START-UPS TO
RATIONALLY DEAL WITH THE CRISIS AND NAVIGATE THE TROUBLED WATERS OF COVID-19
Check closely the burn rate, liquidity, working capital, overdraft. Remember: ‘Cash is king’. Cash is the oxygen of the business.
- Existing clients
Review the contracts you have with clients; are clients surviving? Will clients pay?
- Facilities, operations
Can staff access the facilities? Are the facilities safe? Are the operations functioning?
- Access to government assistance
Is the company eligible for support, and is it applying for all the kinds of support available? Many governments have support programmes for labour costs, access to finance, tax delays.
- Mental health
How are the people in the company? Are they coping OK? It is good to say hello.
Does the crisis provide opportunities? Are there new contracts to win?
When restrictions lift, is the company still relevant? Will customers want what is on offer in the new world?
- Reputation management
Is the fund doing things to come out of this with a good/better reputation? Are the companies doing things to come out of this with a good/better reputation?
- Risk register, ‘Resilience’
Does the company have a risk register? How is it managed? What is missing? What if two bad things happen at once?
- It is not over until is over
This is a defining moment. Keep fighting till the end and never lose hope and patience.