Dear entrepreneurs and founders, dear investors, dear friends,
We think it is important, during this extraordinary time, not to tell you too much about the Covid-19 health crisis, because many things have already been said and written, but to give you an update about AVP and to tell you how we are navigating through the crisis.
First, it is clear that for all of us at AVP, the wellbeing of the community is our first and foremost objective. Health and safety of our team and all those we interact with is at the forefront of all our concerns and is the driver of all our decisions. We’ll give you a few more details later in this note about the way we are currently operating.
But, this crisis also makes us realize what “living in society” means. Beyond the protection of our team, taking the right decisions also contributes to the safety of all and is a basic act of solidarity. Adopting and encouraging responsible behaviors, while keeping a capacity of judgement, understanding what is at stake and the reasons why responsible behaviors are important is a duty not just of all individuals, but also of all businesses. This is why, at AVP, in every country in which we operate, at a minimum, we comply carefully with the directives of public authorities. Even more, we have chosen to let our team exercise their judgment, but also encouraged them to align with the most prudent guidelines, for instance through a strict confinement policy.
More generally, we are convinced that everyone can and should contribute beyond adopting responsible behaviors, by more direct actions sometimes. For example, as far as we are concerned, we will hold regular open hours for entrepreneurs who need advice or help, we will support our companies that have specific initiatives to support the community in this period, such as K4Connect, Happytal and others, and to have a long-term charitable donation policy, initially focused on helping organizations engaged in the battle against the virus and its effect on communities.
Our global organization allows our entrepreneurs to benefit, during “peace time”, from our global viewpoint. It also allows us now to have first-hand information regarding the evolution of the situation in each market, on different continents, to exchange daily with our local partners, to observe and share how local stakeholders react, as well as how our companies adapt and what the measures they put in place are. More than ever, we are convinced by the strength of our global footprint.
As far as our day to day operations are concerned, we anticipate no particular issues as our platform is managed in a decentralized and virtual manner by design.
- Every team member of AVP can work seamlessly from home without needing any special equipment, as all our IT systems are cloud-based and we are not dependent on any physical infrastructure. We hold regular meetings through video-conference (Zoom seems to be one of the winner in this crisis!) and in particular our weekly team meetings on Monday and Friday.
- We maintain very regular contact with our portfolio companies (and even others!) to help them navigate through this crisis, give them advice when relevant, share with them the experience that some of us had in 2000-2001 and 2008-2009, even if we recognize that every crisis is different. We encourage our companies to actively and continuously analyze the situation, to identify risks and discontinuities, and sometimes opportunities, to react quickly and decisively, but without panicking, because companies that have been agile, that have taken the right decisions early are the ones that have been stronger after the end of previous crisis. We encourage them to monitor carefully their cash levels and to take appropriate decisions to go through this challenging situation.
- Of course, we continue to do our job of investors and we meet fantastic teams and amazing entrepreneurs every day (even if virtually!). We also realize that this crisis is a real discontinuity and we remain careful and wide open to what the market says to draw all consequences of the current situation.
- With regards to our Fund Investing activities, we continue to maintain regular contact with all of our Portfolio GPs in order to understand how they are reacting to and managing the situation both with their own teams and their portfolios. As the situation unfolds, we will seek to use our broad, global view of the situation to understand the impact and to share insights with all of our GPs. We continue to meet new teams and intend to continue to commit capital to new managers in order to be well positioned in the post Covid-19 world.
And, even if it may be premature to say this, we also think that every crisis is a source of opportunity, the occasion to learn, to reinvent ourselves, and to adapt. It will be absolutely necessary that society as a whole understands what happened and learns the lessons about all this. Our job, as investors, implies that we anticipate and quickly incorporate these lessons.
This crisis should also be a reason to remain humble. While, as investors in technology, we have an immense faith in the benefits of innovation for the society, we must also recognize that our world remains very vulnerable and that, despite the progress in biotechnology, this virus is a real crisis, and despite what Artificial Intelligence and Big Data allows, Nature/God/Destiny (choose what you want) still has a few “Black Swans” for us which are neither modeled, nor predictable. It is a therefore clearly a lesson of humility…
Remaining adaptable and agile in this ever-changing world, being useful to the entrepreneurs that we support and accompany during key moments and contributing to the development of the society in which we live, are essential motivations for us at AVP.
Let’s take care of each other.
The AVP team