Way back when COVID-19 was just beginning to make its mark on the world, yours truly offered two somber blogs (one perhaps even bleak) on what the future looked like for the economy and, more specifically, the high risk/reward entrepreneurship and investing space (see This Too Shall Pass: Thoughts on High Risk/Reward Entrepreneurship in These Troubled Times - Venture Best, a part of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, and The View from the Foxhole - Venture Best, a part of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP ). A lot has happened since then, including millions of COVID-19 deaths, severe supply chain disruptions, massive layoffs, historic levels of drug overdose deaths, and a plague of disruptions in education for the nation’s children and young adults.
Oh, and venture capital enjoyed a record year in 2020, and topped that record in 2021. Liquidity has soared, valuations have roared, and investment terms have moved from entrepreneur-friendly to entrepreneur-extravagant. More broadly, unemployment rates are mostly back to where they were pre-COVID-19, and for months now there have been more job openings in America than people looking for jobs. Who would have thought? I clearly didn’t. (And I’m not aware of anyone who did.)
The COVID-19 economy is still with us, and the virus still poses risks for the economy generally, and for high risk/reward entrepreneurship and investing. Far be it for me to suggest otherwise. But if I’ve learned anything since my March 2020 blogs, it’s this: predicting the future is a fool’s errand. Not unlike writing a business plan for a startup: whatever the future holds, when it plays out, you’ll likely wonder what you were smoking when you wrote your forecast. So, the next time someone tells you how the coming year (or startup) is going to unfold, well, don’t put anything down on it that you can’t afford to lose.
Venture capital enjoyed a record year in 2020, and topped that record in 2021.