When COVID Is an Accelerant | Jeff Epstein, Operating Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners

While COVID-19 and shelter-in-place ordinances continue to upend the go-to market strategies and sales projections of most companies, not all industries are being adversely affected.

We recently asked Jeff Epstein, former CFO of Oracle and DoubleClick and currently an operating partner of Bessemer Venture Partners, whether certain industries will recover more quickly than others from the economic turmoil brought forth by COVID-19.

Here’s what he told us.

Jeff Epstein, Bessemer Venture Partners

Epstein: From my investments in my own personal companies and also through looking at Bessemer’s portfolio, I can see a broad array of companies on which there could be an impact that’s wide-ranging, based on sector. There are some companies—especially in technology, communication, telemedicine, and online education—for which COVID has been an accelerator.

There are trends that were happening before COVID that are now happening faster. In many of these cases, they’re never going back. I think that in particular in telemedicine and online education there are people who are now used to the new, but to some extent will go back to the old normal, but mostly things will remain at a new high level.

Then there are other areas like travel—Booking.com, for instance, or other travel-related sites or events related businesses. One firm in which I’m involved does a wonderful business in distributing healthy snacks to people in their offices. It was growing really fast.

But if no one’s in their office, they’re not going to eat in their office. They’ve had to have layoffs and had to figure out how to deliver healthy snacks to people at home and how to keep these relationships alive so that when people start to go back to the office, they continue to use the product. So, to answer your question, there isn’t an overall answer. It’s very specific to the product that you’re selling and the customer to whom you’re selling it. Each sector will have a different rate of recovery. jb

“…There are trends that were happening before COVID that are now happening faster.”