Jason Green, co-founder and partner at Emergence, is one of the leading VCs investing in enterprise startups at the moment. But even with the focus on B2B, many of their companies have become household names — Zoom, Yammer, Box and Salesforce among them.
Now, we’re all living in a climate where everything has been turned upside down. Meetings are virtual, the future economy and collective health of the world are unknowns, and being an investor — or a founder — comes with completely new parameters and rules of engagement.
We sat down with Green for an enlightening hour to talk about the challenges of all that, plus making deals, running a business, and suddenly finding your quiet, B2B name being turned into a verb. It was an interesting conversation, worth a read for enterprise startups and investors, but — similar to how B2B can spill into consumer — equally insightful for many more.
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Below, you’ll find a lightly edited transcript of our recent chat with Green.
How is sourcing impacted in the current climate?
Sourcing is not much different. We follow the same due diligence process, so when we make an investment, the whole team basically dives in and does due diligence. So we make manager references and customer calls and spend time with each of the management team having one-on-ones. In some ways, it was better. First of all, we could very easily do breakout rooms with each of the individual management team members and then come back. So there was this dynamism to the meeting that we hadn’t had before. We were able to basically record it and share it with folks that couldn’t participate. So all of us had all the information when we were making the decision together. That was pretty special, actually. So it took a little bit longer, it probably took about 50% longer than we would have done otherwise. But I think actually, now knowing what we’ve done, we could probably compress it back to our normal timeframe. So I think in a lot of ways, we’ve learned like a lot of folks that we can do things remotely that we probably didn’t think were possible before. Hopefully, we’ll see how the investment turns out, but we’re super excited about it.